Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Steve Tolleson tags out Detroit Tigers baserunner Nick Castellanos at third base during a steal attempt the fifth inning Sunday in Toronto. ASSOCIATED PRESS
TORONTO — As fans filed out of Rogers Centre following the longest game in Toronto Blue Jays history, Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” played over the sound system.
For a while, it looked like the “day” game might just go all night.
Jose Bautista’s single in the 19th inning drove home the winning run as the Blue Jays rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 today.
“It was a long day today and coming out on top is the only thing that matters,” Bautista said.
Munenori Kawasaki singled off Rick Porcello (13-7) to begin the 19th and advanced to third when second baseman Ian Kinsler couldn’t field an errant throw from Porcello on Jose Reyes’ sacrifice bunt. Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases for Bautista, who ended it with a single to right over the drawn-in outfield, sending his teammates streaming out of the dugout in celebration.
Porcello, who threw 110 pitches over seven innings against the Yankees on Thursday, and tossed a 30-pitch bullpen session Saturday, worked two-plus innings out of the bullpen as the Tigers used eight pitchers.
Porcello called the grounds crew out to work on the mound in the 17th because he was struggling with his landing spot on the well-worn dirt.
“The holes were so big,” Porcello said. “I couldn’t really get any kind of footing, I was falling on every pitch. There was nowhere to move around on the rubber. It was one big crater.”
Led by a six-inning stint from Chad Jenkins (1-1), Toronto’s bullpen threw 15 2-3 innings of scoreless relief. The Blue Jays also used eight pitchers.
“I was just out of gas,” Jenkins said. “I haven’t thrown six innings all year.”
It was the second 19-inning game in as many days. The Los Angeles Angels beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Saturday night. The last time there were two 19-inning games in the same month was July 1985.
Toronto had twice played 18 innings, doing it against the Angels on July 28, 2005, and Texas on June 8, 2013.
At 6:37, it was the longest game by time in Blue Jays history, easily surpassing a 5:57 game against the Yankees on April 19, 2001.
The lights at Rogers Centre were turned on in the 13th inning, fans rose for a 14th-inning stretch and the grounds crew came back out to clean the field for a second time as the marathon affair dragged on.
“A lot of things you don’t see in everyday baseball seemed to all happen in this game,” Tigers reliever Joe Nathan said.
The Blue Jays used 22 of the 25 players on their roster, with only starting pitchers R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ and Drew Hutchison staying on the bench. Dickey did go to the bullpen and begin stretching in the 19th.
The Tigers, who didn’t call up replacements for injured pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria, used everyone except pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
“We didn’t think we could get them here,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of the decision not to bring in reinforcements from Triple-A Toledo. “Of course, if we knew we had until 7:00 to get them here, maybe we would have.”
TRAINER’S ROOM: Right-handers Sanchez (right pectoral strain) and Soria (left oblique) were placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game. Sanchez is expected to miss three to four weeks. Left-hander Robbie Ray will be promoted from Triple-A Toledo to start in Sanchez’s place Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
ON DECK: Detroit begins a two-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday, with Verlander (10-10) facing Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke (3-3). Verlander is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.
GOINS GOES DOWN: Toronto optioned second baseman Ryan Goins to Triple-A Buffalo following the game and will make a corresponding roster move Monday.