KANSAS CITY -- The Blue Jays' memorable run through the 2015 season came to a sudden halt on Friday night, but not before Jose Bautista showed off his heroics one last time.
On a night when Toronto's lineup was scuffling, Bautista put the Blue Jays on his back and almost single-handedly sent the American League Championship Series to a seventh game. Bautista gave the Blue Jays life, and he gave them hope, but in the end it still wasn't enough to avoid a 4-3 loss to the Royals in Game 6 of the ALCS.
Bautista homered twice, including a two-run shot to tie the game in the top of the eighth inning. But with the Blue Jays trailing by a run in the ninth, all he could do was watch from the on-deck circle as Josh Donaldson grounded out to end the season.
"I was just trying to make something positive happen when I came up to the plate," Bautista said. "I was able to come through twice. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. Sour loss, but we had enough opportunities to do more, and we didn't. They deserved the win."
Bautista's first homer of the game was a solo shot in the fourth inning. In the eighth, the Blue Jays were trailing, 3-1, and down to their final five outs when Bautista stepped in against Kansas City reliever Ryan Madson.
Bautista fell behind in the count, 0-1, but he then unloaded on a 96-mph fastball from Madson and sent it over the wall in left. With that, he became the sixth player in Major League history to hit multiple home runs in a potential ALCS elimination game.
Big players live for the big moments, and that's exactly what Bautista did this postseason. The Blue Jays likely would not have even been playing Friday night if Bautista did not hit a three-run homer off Texas' Sam Dyson in Game 5 of the AL Division Series. But there they were, and they came oh so close.
"It was amazing, 'Bats' had a great season, a great game tonight," Donaldson said. "It's just been awesome to be able to watch him play on a day-to-day basis, and [to watch] a lot of other guys in this room as well.
"He's been great for us all year. Tonight was another night where he was on the big stage and did a great job for us. Ultimately, we ended up not winning, but like I said, I think we learned a lot about ourselves and about our team."
Bautista finished the postseason hitting .293 (12-for-41) with four home runs, 11 RBIs and seven runs scored. He reached base at least once in all 11 postseason games while posting a .408 on-base percentage. The four home runs were the most in franchise history for one postseason, and prior to Friday night, nobody in a Blue Jays uniform had ever hit two home runs in the same postseason game.
The slugger waited 12 years for the moment, and he will have a lot of positives to look back on after the disappointment of Friday's loss washes away. The big player, on the big stage.
"Unreal performance by Jose," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said. "He's definitely that type of player who loves being in that moment. He loves the big situations, and we've seen him do it before, and again today. He did everything he could in his power to try to win. Unfortunately, we just fell short."