Wild, improbable rally fuels Blue Jays' pennant chase

Carter: 'Second biggest HR in Blue Jays' history' (0:48)

Former Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter joins SportsCenter and reacts to Jose Bautista's home run that propelled Toronto to the ALCS. (0:48)

TORONTO -- If you are Canadian and you kicked in your television screen during the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday, it's understandable. But if so, boy, did you miss something special. Not just a stadium-rocking comeback by your team but perhaps the most amazing inning in postseason history that did not include Bill Buckner or Steve Bartman. And certainly one that no one has ever seen before.

"Not at the big league level, not in the U.S. Maybe in winter ball, but that was about it," said Jose Bautista, whose three-run homer may not even have been the biggest moment in the Toronto Blue Jays' still mind-boggling 6-3 comeback victory over the Texas Rangers in the division series finale. "It was a lot of emotions, a lot of changing dynamics of the game and the momentum from team to team. Obviously, in a do-or-die game, tensions are going to be running high. People's emotions get involved, and it's a different type of game."

Different? Sheesh, just Bautista's bat flip after the home run -- which could have been a gold-medal toss, if this had been the Olympics -- was amazing enough. But the rest of that inning?

"I've never seen anything like that in 19 years in baseball," Toronto starting pitcher R.A. Dickey said afterward. "Not in winter ball. Not in Venezuela. Not in the backfields of Puerto Rico.

"It was like a novel that you don't want to put down. It was a roller coaster of emotions from the top to the bottom of the inning. Even after that, you felt like they were going to claw back somehow."

A Leo Tolstoy-length novel probably still would fall short of describing everything that happened in that seventh inning, including the incident that started it all, a moment that player after player said he had never seen before and which was so perplexing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said afterward, "I'm still not certain what happened."

You can get full details here, but it began with Texas right fielder Shin-Soo Choo batting with two out, the score tied 2-2 and Rougned Odor on third base. After taking a ball to even the count at 2-2, Choo stuck out his bat, which then was struck by catcher Russell Martin's toss back toward the mound. The ball bounced away. Home plate umpire Dale Scott waved the play dead. However, Texas manager Jeff Banister argued until the play was overturned because of Rule 6.03 (a)(3), and Odor was allowed to score to put the Rangers ahead. And then all hell broke loose.

Players were shouting in outrage and anger. Fans were howling and throwing cups and containers on the field. Social media exploded across the continent. Everyone was going nuts, even people who didn't see what happened.

"We didn't know what the hell was going on," Toronto reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. "We don't have any TVs in the bullpen. We had no clue. It was frustrating. We didn't know what was happening."

He need not have worried about finding out what happened, because in this day and age, everything gets talked about and commented upon until everyone is exhausted -- or the next controversy takes place.

"We could talk about this all day. I'm just glad we're talking about us winning," Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "If we were talking about how we lost because of that, that would be bad."

Yes, it would be bad. Very bad. Losing your first postseason series in 22 years because of a previously unseen play and a virtually unknown rule? Even Rangers fans would have felt bad if the game had hinged on such a thing. Fortunately, it did not.

"I was thinking there is no way that the Good Lord is going to let a game end like that. No way," Dickey said. "And next inning, sure enough. Three errors, it was uncanny. Uncanny."

Not only three errors but three consecutive errors to open the inning and load the bases, each of them involving Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus that lead to the inimitable social media references that "Elvis' glove has left the building."

The Jays tied the score, then Bautista came up with two out and runners on the corners and blew the game wide open by blasting his three-run homer that sailed nearly as far as the bat he flipped in celebration immediately afterward, a flip that provoked a bench-clearing shouting and shoving match on the field.

"I didn't plan anything that I did, and so I still don't even know how I did it," Bautista said. "I just enjoyed the moment, rounded the bases and got to the dugout. And after all the guys stopped punching me and hitting me is when I kind of started realizing what happened. I knew I did something great for the team at the moment of impact, because I knew I hit that ball pretty good. And I gave us the lead in a crucial moment, so I was happy to do that."

He wasn't the only one deliriously happy. "I wanted to hug him forever," Martin said.

It also put Bautista right up there near the top of Toronto baseball heroes. "Besides Joe Carter's home run, that was probably the biggest homer in Blue Jays history," Tulowitzki said.

The Blue Jays held on to win to become just the third team in postseason history to lose the first two games of a best-of-five series and win the next three. They will play the Kansas City Royals, who beat the Houston Astros in their division series, in the ALCS that begins Friday.

Who will win? What will happen? After Wednesday's game, we know one thing is certain: None of us knows what will happen. Which is what makes this game so great. Anything can happen. And as the Jays and Rangers showed, that means truly anything.

"As long as you're involved in this game," Gibbons said, "crazy things happen."