Troy Tulowitzki had the big home run, but Ryan Goins had the most important hit in Blue Jays’ 11-8 win over Royals in ALCS Game 3 on Monday
Our man David Cameron chose Troy Tulowitzki’s third-inning home run as Monday night’s October Moment. Which was smart! Tulo’s three-run homer off Johnny Cueto in Game 3 of the ALCS made the score 6-2. And while there would be plenty more fireworks still, that homer answered some questions about Tulowitzki and raised some about Cueto.
But let’s not forget that the Jays were already ahead 3-2 when Tulo struck, thanks to Ryan Goins’ two-run single in the second inning. After the game, FS1 guest analyst Max Scherzer said, “I thought the at-bat that changed the game was the Goins at-bat.”
Just to review: Goins is the Blue Jays’ everyday second baseman, and he’s a tremendous fielder but not much of a hitter. In Game 2 against the Royals, he heard Jose Bautista calling him off a pop fly even though Bautista wasn’t doing any such thing, which opened the floodgates for a huge and decisive rally for Kansas City to give the Royals a 2-0 series lead.
Afterward, Tulowitzki says he told Goins: “You’re going to be a hero one of these games.”
Which he was.
In Game 3, Goins came up in the bottom of the second inning, the Royals leading 1-0, with two outs and runners on first and third. He fell behind Cueto in the count, 0-2.
In Goins’ short career, he’s batted .095 (15 for 158) after falling behind 0-2 in the count.
Against Cueto in October? Goins is now batting a thousand in that situation.
Cueto’s third pitch wasn’t close, and Kevil Pillar stole second base without a throw. Then came another ball, followed by three straight fouls. Then a ball, running the count full.
Cueto’s ninth pitch of the at-bat was an off-speed offering in the strike zone, but low and away. Hardly a terrible pitch, unless Goins was sitting on it. Sure enough, he slapped it into left field, both runners scored, and the Jays were off and running.
There would be more scoring — including Goins’ solo homer in the fifth, not to mention a late Royals comeback of sorts — but the Jays wouldn’t be denied, finishing with the 11-8 victory.
You knew Tulowitzki was right. You knew Ryan Goins would be a hero, someday. Because that’s baseball. You just couldn’t know it would happen so bloody soon.