One out away from the first title in their nine-year history, the Toronto Blue Jays gave up two runs in the top of the ninth inning tonight, allowing the New York Yankees to stay alive in the American League East with a 4-3 decision.
Trailing, 3-2, the Yankees evened the score with two out in the top of the ninth when Butch Wynegar sent a 1-1 delivery off Tom Henke over the right field fence for his fifth homer. It was his first since June 7. "I didn't want to make the last out and have them celebrating with me at home plate," Wynegar said.
Bobby Meacham reached on a single off the glove of second baseman Damaso Garcia and Rickey Henderson followed with a walk. Rookie Steve Davis relieved Henke. Don Mattingly lofted a routine fly ball to center that Lloyd Moseby dropped.
"I just dropped it," the disconsolate Moseby said. "It hit me right in the glove."
"I couldn't believe it," Meacham said. "He's a great center fielder. I feel bad for him."
The victory went to Rod Scurry (1-0), who relieved Ed Whitson with two outs in the fifth and worked 3 1/3 innings. He allowed one run on two hits while striking out four. Dave Righetti worked the final inning for his 29th save.
Toronto took a 3-2 lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Cliff Johnson.
New York had opened a 2-0 lead in the fifth on Meacham's RBI double followed by Henderson's run-scoring single.
Following a 59-minute rain delay, the Blue Jays evened the game in their half of the fifth on a pair of unearned runs. Ernie Whitt drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on Garcia's two-out single. With Moseby batting, Whitson threw a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third.
Moseby bounced what should have been an inning-ending chopper to Andre Robertson but Robertson skipped the ball past first baseman Mattingly and both runners scored, evening the game at 2-2.
The stadium record crowd of 47,866 saw Moseby lead off the eighth by drawing a walk. He advanced to second on pinch hitter Garth Iorg's sacrfice and, after Willie Upshaw popped out to third, Johnson ripped a grounder that appeared headed to center field. Meacham ranged 15 feet to his left to snare the ball but his throw to catcher Wynegar was high and up the first base line, allowing Moseby to score the go-ahead run.
The Blue Jays now will try to wrap up the division Saturday afternoon, when they send ex-Yankee Doyle Alexander (16-10) against New York's Joe Cowley (12-5).