Blue Jays manager John Farrell wraps up his first full season as bench boss with a win on the final day of the year and finishing with a .500 record.
Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (11-11) threw six innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out seven in the victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
Shawn Camp (6-3) pitched the eighth inning for Toronto, giving him the win, and Frank Francisco captured his 17th save of the year.
Chicago pitcher Phillip Humber came into the game going through some dark days in his season. Entering play, he was 1-5 with a 6.15 ERA in his last 10 starts. To make matters worse, he was 0-1 with an ERA of nine in his last two starts.
He didn’t look like he was struggling on this day, pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing only two hits and one run, striking out nine in the loss.
Humber (9-9) was in line for the win all the way to the top of the ninth inning until closer Chris Sale walked Jays’ third baseman Mark Teahen with the bases loaded to tie the game and then pinch-hitter Adam Loewen for the go-ahead run.
Teahen went 1-for-2 at the plate with one RBI and two walks, and left fielder Eric Thames also drove in a run.
Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham hit a solo homer and shortstop Alexei Ramirez singled in the Sox’s other run.
Morrow took to the mound on the afternoon with six hits and 17 strikeouts in his last two starts, both wins, while boasting 15-straight scoreless innings.
Toronto (81-81) took a page out of the White Sox playbook from Tuesday night and jumped out to an early lead. In the top of the first, with second baseman Mike McCoy on first, Thames doubled to centre field, cashing in the Jays’ first run.
Morrow had slight control issues in the early part of the game. By the end of the third inning he had already walked five batters. Luckily, no damage was caused.
But, he wouldn’t be able to hold onto it forever. His scoreless-inning streak ended at 18 with a solo home run by Beckham in the bottom of the fourth. Morrow threw a hanging curve ball on the first pitch of the at bat and could only watch as the pitch was sent straight out over Thames into the left field stands.
Thames would encounter some more hardship in the fifth. With Alejandro De Aza on first, Ramirez double down the third baseline. As Thames chased the ball, and De Aza reached third, a fan leaned over the wall and stopped the rolling ball.
Despite Farrell’s plea to the umpires, the runner was deemed able to score had the interference not occurred, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.
Matt Thornton would come in for the White Sox (79-83) to finish off the seventh and pitch a clean eighth to preserve the lead for closer Chris Sale in the ninth.
But the Jays didn’t let him off the hook for the second night in the row with ease. Kelly Johnson doubled to centre, then moved to third on a single by David Cooper. A sacrifice bunt and a walk later loaded the bases. Sale went high and inside on Teahen walking in the tying run.
Loewen came in to pinch hit for the Jays and never got to put a ball in play. Sale walked him bringing in the go-ahead run. Sergio Santos came in for the second out of the inning, followed by Will Ohman, who would come in to close out a disastrous ninth for the Sox.
The bats of Chicago came close to rescuing the game in the bottom half of the frame. With two outs, Beckham singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, but Juan Pierre flied out to Jose Bautista to end the game and the season.