Who cares that it was the third-last game of the season between two baseball teams mired deep in the standing playing before an embarrassingly-empty 50,000-seat Rogers Centre?
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell for one, judging from his actions in the 10th inning of Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins when he got tossed for arguing a disputed call as if Game 7 of the World Series hinged on the outcome.
Farrell would later admit he was wrong in his argument, but, hey, you’ve got to give the guy some style points for trying to make it interesting.
Same for Anthony Gose, the young Blue Jays rookie who stepped to the plate after all the excitement of Farrell’s ejection had calmed somewhat to stroke the game-winning walk-off single in a 6-5 Blue Jays victory.
The game was played before just 12,359 fans, the lowest home gathering for a Blue Jays game this season, and they were treated to a pretty fair encounter between two teams that will have nothing to play for after Wednesday, when the regular season is scheduled to be over.
The Blue Jays were trialing 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Yan Gomes clubbed a solo home run shot off Minnesota closer Glen Perkins to send the game into extras.
That’s when the fun started, beginning with Adeiny Hechavarria’s one-out opposite-field single into right for Toronto in the tenth.
Farrell sent J.P. Arencibia in to pinch-hit but he swung at a ball in the dirt for strike three and the ball squirted away from Minnesota catcher Drew Butera, allowing the Toronto hitter the opportunity to sprint for first.
Butera gathered the ball and fired to first only to hit Arencibia as he tried to hug the inside line of the base path and the Toronto runner thought he would be judged safe at first.
But home plate umpire Marvin Hudson begged to differ, calling Arencibia out for running out of the base path, which brought an enraged Farrell running out of the Toronto dugout in protest.
Farrell’s histrionics soon reached a level that Hudson could not tolerate and he ejected the Toronto manager for just the second time this season.
“I saw it as JP was on the line,” Farrell said. “Obviously, after seeing a replay, Marvin made the right call. But in that moment I felt like JP was on the line and in the base path. But in the end he made the right call.
“But still, even though we’re three days from the final game, we’re still competing and trying to do whatever we can to win a ballgame.”
After Farrell’s ejection, Gose stepped to the plate and bounced a hit through the middle that easily scored Hechavarria from second to secure the Toronto victory.
The Twins did not have Canadian slugger Justin Morneau in their lineup, mired in an 0-for-15 hitting slump.
Before the game Minnesota manager Ron Gardenheir suggested that Morneau, who is hitting .267 on the year, is starting to feel the affects of a long season physically, struggling to play with a banged up wrist.
After the game, the Minnesota manager said that he has decided to shut down the New Westminster, B.C., native for the rest of the year.
Morneau said he could understand the decision.
“It hasn't been great but I've been able to play so it's good enough,” he said of his wrist injury. “I'm up there fighting for my life, pretty much, every time I swing. I don't think it's helpful to anyone to do that.
“I'm just not able to swing the way I want to.”