Morning Rewind, 10/15: Joey Bats flips Toronto into the ALCS

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By JOHN DORN

There's been some weird baseball in the past, but Wednesday evening, the baseball gods may have granted us the strangest gift of all.

The seventh inning of Game 5 in the Blue Jays vs. Rangers series could go down as the strangest inning of all time. From previously unseen rules to the bat flip of the century, it was barely under an hour of maddening nonsense. And it was glorious.

I mean, who knew there was actually a rule in the books for this?



Russell Martin's routine throw back to the pitcher unintentionally clanks off Shin-Soo Choo's bat, sails into oblivion and Rougned Odor scores from third on the play. What?

The umpiring crew originally incorrectly called a dead ball, but reversed it correctly to the go-ahead run, breaking a 2-2 tie, after a rule check with MLB.

But that's when the fun was just getting started. And it was all at poor Elvis Andrus' expense.

Three consecutive Rangers errors -- two by Andrus -- loaded the bases for Josh Donaldson, who tied it up with a fielder's choice. Which set up a two-on, two-out situation for Joey Bats himself. What followed should go directly to Cooperstown.



Jose Bautista sent one sailing into the upper deck and gave the fans -- and himself -- something to get excited about. With that rally -- and after a few scuffles following the epic bat flip -- the Jays are headed to the ALCS for the first time since 1993.

Blue Jays 6, Rangers 3


***


This was the precise game that Kansas City had in mind when they sent three prospects to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Johnny Cueto. And although the starter hadn't quite lived up to expectations in the months following the blockbuster, he proved it was all worth it on Wednesday night.

In the night's second decisive Game 5, the Royals sent Cueto to the mound opposite Houston's Collin McHugh, a 19-game winner despite a pedestrian 3.89 ERA. And while McHugh was bumped after four, Cueto's eight-inning, eight-strikeout, two-hit, two-run, no-walk outing couldn't have come at a better time for the Royals.

The icing on the cake came in the eighth, when A.J. Hinch brought Dallas Keuchel in out of the pen off two days rest to try and keep the lead at bay. But when Kendrys Morales sent one sailing over the fence off the likely AL Cy Young winner, everyone in the ballpark knew how the night was about to end.



The victory sets up an ALCS agains the Toronto Blue Jays, in what will be a true battle between contrasting styles. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday night.

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