Off to a roaring start
Estrada, Bautista dominate in Jays’ opening-game win
ARLINGTON, Texas — Marco Estrada took a shutout bid into the ninth inning, Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and the Blue Jays opened their American League Division Series rematch with a 10-1 romp over the Rangers on Thursday.
Bautista, who had the emphatic bat flip after his tiebreaking homer in the ALDS clincher last October against the Rangers and got punched the last time they played in Texas in May, drove in four runs. He had an RBI single in Toronto’s five-run third off All-Star left-hander Cole Hamels.
Bautista added a 425foot blast in the ninth inning, and the slugger seemed to deliberately drop the bat softly near home plate after his second homer of this postseason.
“I have a couple of home runs in my career and I think I’ve only flipped it once,” Bautista said. “Just kind of been blown out of proportion because of the moment last year. So I don’t think there was anything too special about laying it down the way I did, because that’s the way that 99.9-plus percent of the time I do it.”
Troy Tulowitzki hit a bases-loaded triple for the Blue Jays, who have won four straight overall, including an 11-inning, 5-2 victory over the Orioles in the AL wild-card game Tuesday night.
Estrada, also an All-Star, held Texas to four hits, the last being Elvis Andrus’ leadoff triple in the ninth. John Gibbons removed the right-hander after ShinSoo Choo’s RBI grounder ended the shutout bid. Troy Tulowitzki hits a bases-clearing triple in the Blue Jays’ 10-1 win over the Rangers on Thursday in Arlington, Texas. BLUE JAYS VS. RANGERS Blue Jays lead 1-0 Game 1: Blue Jays 10-1 Game 2: 1 p.m. today Blue Jays (Happ 20-4) at Rangers (Darvish 7-5) Game 3: 7:30 p.m. Sunday Rangers (Lewis 6-5) at Blue Jays (Sanchez 15-2) Game 4: TBA Monday* Rangers (Perez 10-11) at Blue Jays (Stroman 9-10) Game 5: TBA Wednesday* Blue Jays at Rangers x-if necessary; TV: TBS
“He’s mastered his craft,” the Blue Jays manager said. “He’s a very calm guy. He doesn’t get down. As well as he’s pitched in two years here, really no need.”
Hamels, the MVP of the 2008 World Series and NLCS for the Phillies, allowed seven runs (six earned) with three walks in 31⁄ innings.