Texas Rangers take 2-0 lead in ALDS vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange

TORONTO -- It came down to a battle of the bullpens. The Texas Rangers won that and ultimately the game Friday.

While the bullpen held the Toronto Blue Jays to two hits over the final seven innings, the Rangers scored twice in the 14th inning to earn a 6-4 victory and take a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series.


"As far as our bullpen is concerned, what a phenomenal job they did today and the zeros they put up," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was not surprised by the strength of the Texas bullpen.

"No, no, we saw them early in the year," he said. "They've got some big arms."

The Blue Jays' bullpen took a hit when left-hander Brett Cecil suffered what Gibbons called "a significant tear in his calf."

Cecil was injured in a rundown play that ended the eighth inning.

The Blue Jays bullpen also excelled until the 14th inning when Hanser Alberto, filling in a third base for injured Adrian Beltre, singled in the go-ahead run against right-hander LaTroy Hawkins.


Hawkins retired the first two batters of the 14th before second baseman Rougned Odor reached first on an infield hit.

Catcher Chris Gimenez followed with a single. Odor rounded second and slid back to the bag after a throw from right fielder Jose Bautista nearly caught him.

The call stood after a video review although the Rogers Centre crowd disagreed.

"It looked pretty clear to a lot of us that there was a little bit of space in there," Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar said. "Besides, I thought it passed the eye test. But we've got the best umpires in the world for a reason so they're doing job as well."

After the review, Alberto singled to center to score Odor. Right-hander Liam Hendriks replaced Hawkins.

Center fielder Delino DeShields beat out an infield single to shortstop and another run scored.

Right-hander Keone Kela picked up the win and right-hander Ross Ohlendorf secured the save, pitching around a hit batter.

The Blue Jays know they must turn things around in a hurry.

"What do we have to do?" Pillar asked. "Not lose first of all. Just get back to what we've done. We haven't really played clean baseball. We've pitched outstanding but it's just a matter of stringing together some hits."


The Rangers forced extra innings on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Mike Napoli in the eighth.

Left fielder Ben Revere gave Toronto a 4-3 lead with a fifth-inning single.

The Blue Jays got a first-inning homer from third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Alberto atoned for an error that led to two unearned runs in the second inning with his winning hit.

"I feel pretty sour in the moment because that cost us a couple of runs," Alberto said. "But you know, we fight until the last out. It was a team effort and, you know, just keeping my head up and ready for the next ground ball after that."

As for the winning hit.

"I'm just looking for the fastball every time, so finally I get it, put a good swing and thank Odor because he's hustling," Alberto said.

Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman allowed four runs (three earned), five hits and two walks while striking out five in seven-plus innings

Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels allowed four runs (two earned) and six hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.

The Rangers scored twice in the first. DeShields led off with a double. Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo hit an RBI single, and designated hitter Prince Fielder singled to center to put runners at the corners.


Choo scored on a throwing error by catcher Russell Martin after first baseman Chris Colabello threw home on a grounder by Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland that had Choo hung up between third and home.

Stroman then got three outs on two grounders to first. The final two came on an unassisted double play by Colabello, who retired left fielder Josh Hamilton at first on a grounder before crossing the diamond to tag Fielder, who was caught between third and home.

After Donaldson's first career postseason homer in the Toronto first, Texas scored in the second. Odor led off with a walk, took third on a high chop to Stroman by Gimenez and slid home on a sacrifice fly by Alberto.

The Blue Jays tied the game 3-3 in the second. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki reached base on Alberto's error. Colabello hit a ground-rule double to right. Martin hit a long RBI single and Pillar grounded into a double play to score the other run.

The Blue Jays led 4-3 lead in the fifth Revere's single that scored Pillar, who led off with a bloop double to right.


Stroman was replaced by Cecil after DeShields led off the eighth with a single.

Choo sacrificed DeShields to second. Fielder struck out before Napoli came in to hit his tying single. Napoli was picked off first to end the inning and Cecil, who made the tag in the rundown, limped off the field.

NOTES: 3B Josh Donaldson and RF Jose Bautista both were back in the Blue Jays' lineup Friday. Donaldson left Thursday's opener in the fifth inning after taking a knee to the head in a slide at second base in the fourth in breaking up a possible double play. He passed concussion tests. Bautista left Thursday after the eighth inning with a hamstring cramp. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre was not in the lineup after leaving Thursday in the third inning with a strained lower back, the result of sliding into second on a first-inning double play. ... The series resumes with Game 3 on Sunday at Arlington, Texas. RHP Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA) will start Sunday for the Blue Jays with LHP Martin Perez (3-6, 4.46 ERA) starting for the Rangers.

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