Pearce again — with walkoff ‘granny’
TORONTO — With his second walk-off grand slam in less than a week, Steve Pearce lifted the Jays to a miraculous 11-10 comeback win over the Los Angeles Angels Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Angels held a 10-4 lead entering the final frame and many of the 46,852 in the sold-out crowd had already left the stadium. But Pearce launched a fastball from Angels closer Bud Norris into left field to complete the biggest ninth-inning comeback in Blue Jays’ history.
After, he was at a loss to explain his recent flair for the dramatic.
“Feels great. Really hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Pearce, who was asked if the grand slam from Thursday’s win over Oakland gave him any extra confidence.
“You never see those coming with that big a deficit,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “Pearce with a granny to win it — that’s really rare in this game.”
Pearce became just the third player in MLB history with two walk-off grand slams in one season.
Toronto’s rally comes a day after the Angels stunned the Jays (49-56) with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback of their own. Matt Dermody got the win after pitching three innings of relief without giving up an earned run.
Albert Pujols homered twice for the Angels (51-55), who seemed to be in cruise control until Toronto’s wild ninth inning.
Kevin Pillar began the rally with a two-run homer and infielder Rob Refsnyder doubled to chase Angels reliever Brooks Pounders. With Norris taking over on the mound, Ezequiel Carrera and Russell Martin singled to cut the lead to 10-7 and, after Justin Smoak grounded out, Kendrys Morales walked to set the table for Pearce’s heroics.
“He missed pretty bad on the first two pitches so I was really able to lock in on the next pitch,” Pearce said.
Cesar Valdez started for the Blue Jays, and after the journeyman right-hander picked up his first win in over seven years with a solid start against Oakland Tuesday, it was immediately clear he wasn’t going to be as sharp. With Mike Trout on base in the first inning, Pujols sent the eighth pitch of the game into the left-field seats to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Though Carrera responded with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning, the Jays and Valdez unravelled in a messy third. Infielder Kaleb Cowart led off with a triple, former Jay Yunel Escobar followed with a double, Trout walked and Pujols singled for a 4-1 lead. Before the inning was over, Andrelton Simmons doubled in two to chase Valdez before Ben Revere added an RBI single to put the Angels up 7-1.
Still, the Angels kept coming, adding runs in the fifth, and the sixth, when Pujols hit his 16th homer. Luis Valbuena would add a sacrifice fly in the ninth to give Los Angeles what should have been an insurmountable 10-4 lead.
With the summer they’ve had, the Blue Jays were thankful the wild game leaned their way.
“It’s a crazy day,” Gibbons said. “You don’t see that coming.”
Steve Pearce, right, high-fives Marcus Stroman, after his walkoff grand slam Sunday. The Jays trailed 10-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, winning 11-10.