John Mayberry Had Left Kansas City To Help Toronto Score Team Record 24 Runs With Two Blasts
Toronto recently put on a hitting clinic, led by young star Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. He and his teammates scored eleven runs in each game of a double header on September 11, totaling an impressive 22 runs for the day.
The very next day they matched that number in a single game, beating the Orioles 22-7 on September 12.
Signs of a blowout came early, as the Jays led 16-4 after just three innings. Had the Orioles put in their backup catcher at that point, perhaps he could have stymied the Toronto hitters in a bit of deja vu.
Toronto's nearly two dozen points marked the most runs since June 26, 1978, which was also against Baltimore. The deja vu goes well beyond that detail, as the story of that day 43 years ago might indicate.
It was the Oriole offense which started off hot, when Eddie Murray doubled and Lee May ripped an RBI single off of Tom Underwood. Mike Flanagan, already an eleven game winner and early Cy Young Award candidate, blanked the Jays in the home half.
Those three outs, however, would be the only ones he recorded, for Flanagan immediately ran into trouble in the second. Otto Velez doubled and scored on the first of three successive singles, which were followed by a walk to Willie Upshaw.
Flanagan was then lifted, but his successor failed as well. Velez came up again, and once again he doubled. John Mayberry then crushed a home run, his first of two for the game, to put Toronto up 9-1.
Reliever Joe Kerrigan's second inning of work started off eerily similar to Flanagan's second inning, five of the first six Blue Jays getting hits. Tippy Martinez came from the bullpen to get the final two outs, but not before Toronto had collected four more runs to increase the lead to 13-2.
Martinez's second inning of work, like both Flanagan and Kerrigan, began with a hit barrage. Seven of the first nine hitters reached, adding six more runs to the Toronto total.
Fourth Baltimore pitcher Larry Harlow, unlike his three predecessors, did not suffer a terrible second inning. Alas, he did not even make it through one inning, even after retiring the first two hitters.
He subsequently walked four, yielded a single to Rico Carty, and gave up Mayberry's second home run of the game. After five more runs scored, Harlow was replaced by someone from the bullpen.
The replacement was not, however, a pitcher; he was Elrod Hendricks, a veteran catcher who had guided the Orioles to three pennants earlier in his career. After having watched his battery mates give up 24 runs, Hendricks promptly retired four of the five batters he faced, allowing his only baserunner to reach on a walk.
Basically the Jays fared against the backup catcher much as they did when facing most pitchers that year, which saw Toronto lose 102 games. Baltimore, on the other hand, won ninety games, only to miss out on the playoffs.
This year will have nearly opposite finishes for the two clubs, as Baltimore will lose over a hundred games while the Jays are on pace to eclipse ninety wins. The best they can hope for, however, is to earn a chance to play in the Wild Card game, where it will is highly unlikely they can muster even a sixth of the 24 their predecessors amassed forty three years ago.