Morris went all the way and gave up just six hits, but that was enough to put a dent in his reputation as baseball's Mr. Clutch. The three-homer performance would drop his postseason record to 7-2 and leave his team very much on the defensive.
Gaston had Ward warming up in the bullpen, but he defended his decision to leave Morris in the game for the ninth inning.
"Jack has pitched well enough for us this year to warrant sending him out there in the ninth," Gaston said. "He deserved a chance to go out and win the game."
Morris had created an instant sense of anticipation in the normally staid SkyDome crowd when he retired the A's on three straight ground outs in the first inning, but it disappeared with McGwire's tremendous two-run shot in the second. Steinbach made the hole a little deeper with his line drive over the left-field fence.
McGwire has hurt the Blue Jays before, and in similar fashion. His home run in the first game of the 1989 playoffs started a three-run sixth-inning rally that carried the A's to a 7-3 victory. They went on to win the series in five games and McGwire went on to bat .389. Last night's homer was his fourth in postseason play.
Steinbach also has been known to step up in big-game situations. He hit a game-winning home run to win MVP honors in the 1988 All-Star Game and he had a home run and seven RBI in the 1989 World Series sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
There also were a number of balls hit hard off Stewart in the early innings, but the first one to sting was a fifth-inning shot by catcher Pat Borders that cleared the fence in left field and broke up the shutout.
Winfield was next, driving a ball right over a sign that hung from the left-field bleachers proclaiming "Winfield for P.M." He probably could make a run for prime minister if he were a Canadian citizen, but the Jays were more than willing to settle for the first postseason home run of his career and the double that put them in position to tie the game in the eighth.