Staked to a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning, Blue Jays relief pitcher David Phelps induced a comebacker that should have ended a bases-loaded threat. Phelps threw home for the initial out, then catcher Gabriel Moreno fired to first base for what would have been an inning-ending double play to keep the Mariners off the board in the frame.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s glove had other ideas.
When the ball arrived at first base it went straight through Guerrero Jr.'s leather, resulting in a run for Seattle. The Mariners would tack on another run in the inning, and ended up winning 6-5 to complete a four-game sweep.
Instead of an inning-ending double play... The ball went directly through Vladdy's glove. 😐 pic.twitter.com/1bwfEyruD4
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) July 10, 2022
Strangely enough, this is not the first time this season Guerrero Jr.'s glove has been busted receiving a ball at first base. The All-Star also blew out his mitt catching a toss from Santiago Espinal in a victory over the Baltimore Orioles on June 13.
"That changed the game," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said, per Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. "And that's just tough frigging luck. I've seen it twice now, all this year, and it usually doesn't happen to the same guy twice. But it happened."
Sunday's equipment malfunction capped off an abysmal road trip for the reeling Blue Jays, who went 1-6 through Oakland and Seattle to fall out of a playoff spot (the Mariners own the tiebreaker as the teams are tied for the final wild-card position at 45-42). Toronto has now lost nine of its past 10 games.
"This whole road trip, it's a little bit of Murphy's Law, right? If something can go wrong, it has," Phelps said.
Luckily for the Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have not been able to create any separation in the standings. The collective struggles of the three teams has allowed the rest of the pack in the American League to catch up, including the Orioles, who are just two games behind the Blue Jays.
Toronto will have a day off on Monday before welcoming the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals to Rogers Centre for the final stretch before the All-Star break.
Blue Jays fans will hope Guerrero Jr. can find a reliable glove by then.
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