Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette was so confident of hitting his first career walk-off home run, he predicted as much moments before his 12th inning heroics against the New York Yankees on Friday.
As the Blue Jays (58-90) gathered in the dugout for their bottom half of the inning, Bichette remarked that he hoped pitcher Tyler Lyons (1-2) would remain in the game because he was sure he could take the Yankees lefty reliever deep.
He did just that. Bichette crushed a towering shot over the left-field wall on a 1-1 slider for a 6-5 victory at Rogers Centre.
“This kid is going to be a star because he’s confident,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He said to someone on the bench that if they leave that left-hander on the mound and ‘he throws me a slider, I’m going to take him deep.’
“It’s one thing to do it. But that’s the confidence he has. To see him do it was awesome to watch.”
Bichette stated after that his remarks were to no one in particular.
“I think I kind of just blurted it out,” he said, adding the game-clinching homer was the best moment of his your career.
“Probably No. 1. I’ve never done that in my life at any level.
“I just had a feeling. I was seeing the ball real well all day.”
The 21-year-old Bichette now ranks third all-time with 28 extra-base hits in his first 41 career games, behind only Joe DiMaggio (30) and Ryan Braun (29).
However, as ecstatic a moment as that was for the Blue Jays, the mood was tempered by the loss of left-handed pitcher Tim Mayza. He threw wildly to walk Didi Gregorius to begin the 10th inning and immediately squatted in pain.
He held his lefty elbow as he walked off the mound with Montoyo and trainer Nikki Huffman. Montoyo said his ailing pitcher would undergo an MRI exam to determine the seriousness of the injury.
“It was very sad,” Montoyo said. “I love Timmy Mayza. He’s done a great job, and he’s part of our future. Of course, he was emotional — everyone was.
“Everybody knows he’s done for now.”
Blue Jays lefty starter Anthony Kay, who pitched 4 1/3 innings in his second career start and allowed five runs in the fifth inning, felt for his fallen teammate.
“You don’t want to see that happen,” Kay said. “It’s terrible. It makes you feel sick to your stomach.”
The Blue Jays felt sick about their recent road trip that finished with seven losses in a row. A few veterans and leaders cajoled the young roster into shaking off the slump and finish strong.
Toronto now has won three of four games on its current homestand, taking two of three against the Boston Red Sox and Friday’s game against the best team in baseball, the Yankees (97-52).
Bichette’s walk-off homer gave Wilmer Font (4-4) the win. He pitched a strong two innings to close the deal.
Down 5-4, the Blue Jays tied the game in the seventh inning. Shortstop Richard Urena led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch from New York reliever Adam Ottavino.
Bichette walked, but he was erased at second base on a force out from Cavan Biggio’s ground ball to Yankees first baseman D.J. Mahieu. Urena scored to tie the game when Ottavino balked with a pickoff attempt to first base.