24

As much as we’d like to forget about the Jays’ nine-game losing streak at the beginning of the month, I feel it’s necessary to put things into perspective one last time. During the last eight losses in that stretch, which included a pair against the Indians and three games apiece against the Rangers and Red Sox, the Blue Jays managed to score just 23 runs while being outscored 60-23. Twenty-three runs. That’s an average of 2.875 per game. 23 runs! I mean, the Jays managed to score that many in one game before. And hey, with the Orioles in town, I think it’s only fitting that we take a look back at that unforgettable game on June 26, 1978 at Exhibition Stadium.

John_mayberry_autographIronically, the Blue Jays had been in a similar rut, having lost seven of their past eight games before heading back to the Ex. Mike Flanagan, the current Baltimore GM and former Blue Jays pitcher, made the start for the Orioles on that day nearly 29 years ago. It didn’t take long for the right-hander to run into trouble, as he allowed the first six men to reach base in the second inning. By the time the inning was over, the Jays had sent 13 men to the plate and scored nine runs. John Mayberry, who smacked a two-run homer in the inning, finished the night with a pair of long balls and a career-high seven RBIs.

Baltimore hurlers Joe Kerrigan and Tippy Martinez didn’t fare any better than Flanagan, as the duo surrendered seven and six more earned runs, respectively, leaving Toronto with a 19-5 lead after four innings. With the game now out of hand, Oriole manager Earl Weaver brought in outfielder Larry Harlow to pitch in the fifth, which prompted Blue Jay manager Roy Hartsfield to protest the move. But with no rule disallowing it, Harlow toed the rubber and allowed five more Blue Jays to score in the fifth. This, despite retiring the first two batters, including 18-year-old catcher Brian Milner, the youngest Blue Jay player in the team’s 30-year history.

Though Harlow struggled (and retired with a 67.50 ERA), catcher Elrod Hendricks was nearly ‘unhittable’, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. In explaining how he chose which position players to use on the mound that day, Weaver said after the game, “I brought them in because they had pitched the best in batting practice.”

When all was said and done, 11 different players recorded a hit for the Blue Jays, including each of the starting nine. Overall, the club batted .511 (24-for-47) with 11 extra-base hits on the day. The 24 runs scored still stands as a franchise record. If you’re interested, Ebay has a ticket stub from the contest that you can view by clicking here. Starting bid: $5.00 US. Hey, you never know when the Jays may suffer another losing skid.

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