Mathis was pressed into duty to pitch the final inning with his team down by 11 runs. Right-hander Brandon Morrow was removed from the game after just two-thirds of an inning, after he allowed six runs. After Carlos Vilanueva threw 4 1/3 innings, Ryota Igarashi and Jason Frasor worked an inning apiece. But manager John Farrell wanted to save the rest of his guys for Saturday.
That prompted Farrell to call down to the bullpen to see if Mathis would be willing to throw an inning. The veteran catcher of eight seasons readily agreed.
"Our bullpen has been pushed pretty hard through that last series [against Tampa Bay] including the 11 innings on Wednesday," Farrell said. "It was a chance to save an arm for tomorrow."
Mathis, who said he hadn't pitched since high school, proceeded to allow a double and a walk but became the only Blue Jays hurler on the night not to surrender an earned run. His fastball topped out at 87 mph, while he also mixed in a couple of changeups to second baseman Ian Kinsler.
"The weirdest part was running in from the bullpen, just coming in from a different angle," Mathis said. "We're always running from the dugout, so running in from the outfield was kind of weird."