The atmosphere at Rogers Centre in Toronto was intense throughout, but reached a fever pitch in the seventh inning after the Texas Rangers scored a controversial run on a strange play involving catcher Russell Martin. That run put the Blue Jays down by one in this do-or-die matchup and almost irrationally angered the fans, but the hometown Jays would come roaring back with some assistance from the Rangers defense in the bottom half.
After a series of blunders — three errors and one slightly misjudged popup to be exact — helped Toronto pull even, Jose Bautista delivered a dagger, launching a no-doubt three-run home run to the third deck. Bautista got every bit of Sam Dyson's pitch. The Rangers' reliever knew it. Everybody in Rogers Centre knew it. Bautista especially knew it, and he didn't mind taking a second or three to admire it.
Bautista then punctuated the emotional moment with one of the most ferocious and accomplished bat flips we've seen in a long time
That would be Bautista letting us know that this series for all intents and purposes was over once that baseball landed, and that the Blue Jays were heading to their first ALCS since 1993.
He was right, too. The home run would stand as the difference in the game, and will go down as the most clutch postseason home run since 2003.
Jose Bautista: 1st go-ahead HR by AL batter in 7th inning or later of sudden death postseason game since Aaron Boone in 2003 ALCS.— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) October 14, 2015
The Rangers may not have liked the bat flip, especially with their season crumbling around them. That much they seemed to make clear following the game.
#Rangers were not pleased with the Jose Bautista bat flip. Understand the emotions, but a lot of "act like a professional" references.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) October 15, 2015
But there was nothing they could do to combat Bautista's swing or his theatrics when it mattered.
Bautista's home run was by far the biggest in Blue Jays history since Joe Carter's series-clinching walkoff in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. If they go on to complete the mission again this season, it will undoubtedly be reflected upon in the same joyous manner. Bat flip included.
As for the jersey he was wearing. Blue Jays fans might want to own, and now they can.
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