Jays return to ALCS on Rangers sweep
JOSH Donaldson made a mad dash from second base to score the winning run in extra innings as the Toronto Blue Jays advanced to their second straight American League Championship Series on October 9.
The Blue Jays completed their first series sweep in franchise history with a 7-6 victory over Texas on a winning run that was set up by an error from Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor in the bottom of the 10th inning.
“We came out and executed well. They took advantage of some of our mistakes and we took advantage of some of their mistakes,” Donaldson said of the win in front of a crowd of 49,500 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
“It was a back-and-forth battle. We were able to get the last one.”
With the score tied 6-6 with one out and runners on first and second, Canadian Russell Martin started the play with a ground ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus. The ball was flipped to Odor and the Rangers appeared to have a routine double play in the making but Odor bungled the throw to first base.
That allowed Donaldson to charge home from second. His head-first slide beat the throw from Rangers Mitch Moreland.
Donaldson reached second earlier in the inning with a line drive to centre field.
Edwin Encarnacion and Martin homered for the Blue Jays, who took the best-of-five Major League Baseball series with three straight wins.
“That is the best ground ball to short I have ever hit,” Martin joked after the game.
“We are built to be resilient. We’ve been through a lot this year. We didn’t let them get to us. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”
Odor and Andrus, meanwhile, homered for the Rangers.
In the other playoff game on October 9, Jose Lobaton belted a three-run homer and Daniel Murphy drove in two runs as the Washington Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 to tie their series at one game apiece.
Lobaton went deep on a curveball from Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill in the fourth inning to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead.
He smacked the two-out shot into the Dodgers’s bullpen in left field after Murphy drew a lead-off walk and Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch with two outs.
Lobaton, starting because regular catcher Wilson Ramos is out for the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament, last hit a post-season home run in 2013, when he was playing for Tampa Bay.
Winning pitcher Blake Treinen retired all four batters he faced, lefty Oliver Perez retired both batters he saw in the eighth and closer Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for the save.
The winners of the series will face either the Chicago Cubs or San Francisco Giants for a World Series berth. The Cubs take a 2-0 series lead into game three in San Francisco yesterday.
There was another rain delay on Octoober 9, as the American League game between the Cleveland Indians and Red Sox in Boston was washed out.
That means the Indians, up 2-0, had to wait until yesterday to close out that series. The result was not available at press time. –
Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays hits an RBI double against the Texas Rangers in the third inning of game three of the American League Division Series on October 9. Donaldson later scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning to secure the Blue Jays’ sweep.