Wednesday, September 24
I was able to keep my yearly streak intact of seeing at least one game a year at the SkyDome in Toronto by getting to four of the final five home games of the 2014 campaign. I’ve seen a game at the Dome since it opened in 1989 with the exception of 1995 — a protest of sorts for the strike of 1994. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. Truth be told, I was supposed to meet a college buddy of mine for a game but I got sidetracked as I was living in Northern Ontario at the time, I mean way up North. As the late John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Anyhow, the first game I got to see was between the Blue Jays and Mariners — the third game of a four-game set. The M’s hammered Toronto and swept them at Safeco Field in a three-game series in August. My girlfriend and I attended the opener of the Safeco Fiasco™, watching the Mariners and Felix Hernandez hammer the Jays 11-1. The only highlight was a Jose Bautista home run to give Toronto a short-lived lead. The wheels fell off for starter Drew Hutchison and Brad Mills only made things worse in relief. Not surprisingly, Mills was designated for assignment after the contest.
I just missed out on the Jays serving a huge slice of revenge to King Felix the night before as Dalton Pompey slugged his first major league home run to help Toronto take the first two games of the four-game set. My first game involved a terrific pitching match-up between veteran lefty Mark Buehrle and Seattle rookie Tijuan Walker. To sum up, Buehrle reached the 200-inning plateau for a 14th consecutive season and got the victory after a Ryan Goins bloop single scored former Mariner Munenori Kawasaski with the winning run with two outs in the eighth inning. Aaron Sanchez got the save to preserve the 1-0 win.
Buehrle got the win to improve to 13-10 while Walker suffered the complete-game loss to fall to 2-3. The game finished just one minute short of the two-hour mark despite three replay challenges. The first challenge involved a ground-rule double by the Mariners’ Corey Hart which landed just on the right field foul line in the top of the third inning. The second had to do with a Pompey bid for a bunt single to first but he was ruled to have been tagged out by Seattle first baseman Kendrys Morales to begin the eighth inning. In the third replay review of the night, it was determined that Sanchez picked off Mariners pinch-runner James Jones at first base. As it turned out, this game ultimately prevented the Mariners from going to the post-season. It also guaranteed the Jays a non-losing season as they picked up victory number 81.
Because the game ended so early, I was able to watch some of the Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season game against Ottawa on the video board at Maple Leaf Square.
The Leafs wound up losing this one in a shoot-out. I watched until the bitter end and it almost came back to haunt me the next day. To be continued…