In the sixth inning, in a game in which 19 runs had already been scored, Phillie manager Jim Fregosi, whose phone, alas, was working just fine, brought in reliever David West. Entering the game West had a World Series earned run average of infinity: He had faced eight batters, and eight batters had reached base against him. As did the first two batters on this night. When, finally, Carter flied out to right, West had reduced his lifetime Series ERA to 162.00.
It was unimaginable, then, and downright unheroic, when the Jays gave up in the seventh inning. Down 13-9, Gaston sent his pitcher, Castillo, to the plate to lead off the inning. "——-," said Dykstra little more than an hour later, recalling the moment in disbelief. "They gave up."
They gave up in a World Series game; and what's more, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Castillo hit Phillie catcher Darren Daulton with the bases loaded. For the love of god, Castillo HBP'd in a run, making the score 14-9. You don't see that often in the World Series, but then, you don't see this often either: The Blue Jays scored six runs in the top of the eighth off Phillie relievers Larry Andersen and Williams, run after run lapping up at home plate. The Blue Jays gave up, but Phillie pitchers gave in, and Toronto won the Great 15-14 Ball Game, 15-14.
And so, after Toronto centerfielder Devon White tripled in the last two of the half-dozen runs and then in the ninth caught a fly ball for the final out of the game, Blue Jay pitcher Dave Stewart, who played his first professional game in 1975, was asked for perspective. "Never seen one like it," said Stew. Not in spring training. Not in high school. Not in high school football, he said. "Two touchdowns," said Stewart, "is usually safe."
So how can it be that the next night, in Game 5, all the Phillies needed was a safety in Curt Schilling's hellacious 2-0 complete-game win over the Blue Jays? "Why do you have steak one night," asked Alomar, "and chicken the next?" A good question. And speaking of food, a fan in Philadelphia held a sign during Thursday night's game that read, WILL PITCH MIDDLE RELIEF FOR FOOD. As the team flied to Toronto for Game 6 on Saturday, trailing in the Series 3-2, things were that bad for the Phils' bullpen.
Of course, few people knew that the Phillies had received two calls from some yahoos threatening the life of Williams on Thursday night, and it would have been forgivable if Game 6 were not the foremost thing on his mind on Saturday. That night, behind the 37-year-old Series MVP Paul Molitor (page 28) and the four-hit pitching of Stewart, the Blue Jays led 5-1 after six innings. But the Phillies threw up a ridiculous five-spot in the seventh inning—three of the runs coming on Dykstra's sixth home run of the postseason—and took a 6-5 lead into the eighth, when the Jays failed to score with the bases loaded. Thus, the one-run lead remained in the ninth, when Williams entered.
On this night Toronto leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson walked on four pitches. White flied out to leftfield, but Molitor singled. And then Carter came to the plate and was served that fastball down and in. "Ninety-nine times out of 100," Carter said later, "I hook that pitch way foul. I don't know why, but thank god this one stayed fair."
The ball stayed fair, but Carter lost it in the lights. He didn't pick it up again until he neared first base, heard the tinnitus-inducing din and began his jubilant romp. He still isn't sure if he touched second base—"I hope they don't appeal," he said—on his way to third, where he turned the corner and fought his way through a gantlet of delirious teammates. When he stepped on home plate, the Blue Jays officially became the first team to repeat as champions since the 1978 New York Yankees.
Every day and never. Carter always dreamed of hitting the home run to win the big game, of course. Who hasn't? But in 11 seasons in the big leagues, Carter had hit only one ninth-inning, game-winning home run, period: Against Dan Quisenberry of Kansas City in a meaningless game, seven years ago. But now....
Now, he said, children will emulate his trip around the bases after he hit the come-from-behind home run to win the World Series. Carter has three children of his own, and when he returns to his home in Kansas City, he likes to play ball with kids in the neighborhood. Kids for whom the neighbor's fence is the leftfield fence at the SkyDome. What would he say to those children who may still have been awake at 11:39 on Saturday night?