The Tampa Bay Rays inched closer to the idle Boston Red Sox on Thursday night, leaving the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to keep pace. Both started 2½ games back of the Sawx, and the Blue Jays stood in the way of a nice, round 2, with six games to play.
Then Edwin Encarnacion, with one mighty swing of his bat, effectively ended any hopes the Angels had of the postseason this year. Three games back of the Sox, and a game back of the Rays, with six games remaining is a titanic deficit, and a blow like this is probably too much to overcome this late in the year.
Despite being up 3-1 in the seventh inning, the Angels let the Jays back in the game, thanks to an Eric Thames home run and some heavenly ineptitude — walking Jose Bautista, advancing him to third on an error, and scoring him on a wild pitch. At 3-3 it stayed into extra innings.
In extras, the Jays stranded a runner in scoring position in the tenth. The Angels then stranded Peter Bourjos in the 12th, and in the bottom half, Encarnacion led off against Garrett Richards and blasted the winning home run to left. The Jays crowded around the plate in celebration, and the Angels were left to reflect on a blown opportunity.