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Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays blast Texas Rangers, stay alive

By
Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays Troy Tulowitzki (2) is congratulated at the plate after hitting a three run home run in the top of the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers in game 3 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 11, 2015. Photo by Michael Prengler/UPI
Toronto Blue Jays Troy Tulowitzki (2) is congratulated at the plate after hitting a three run home run in the top of the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers in game 3 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 11, 2015. Photo by Michael Prengler/UPI | License Photo

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Troy Tulowitzki wasn't about to let his first postseason with the Toronto Blue Jays end on a down note.

Tulowitzki, who came into Game 3 of the American League Division Series in an 0-for-10 slump, hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs as the Blue Jays kept their season alive with a 5-1 victory over Texas.

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The Rangers still lead the series two games to one, with Game 4 slated for Monday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

Tulowitzki, who was dropped to the No. 6 spot in the batting order for the first time this season, put Toronto up 2-0 with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. He then broke the game open with a three-run blast in the sixth.

"I felt like the first game I swung the bat well, just not (getting) results," he said. "It was only a matter of two games. Just stick with it and you know it will come around. I just kept battling, which I've done all year, and it worked out."

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Tulowitzki's output was more than enough support for Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing just five hits and one run. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter. The Rangers didn't have a baserunner until third baseman Hanser Alberto hit a two-out double in the bottom of the third inning.

By that time, the Blue Jays already scratched for a run against left-hander Martin Perez, with catcher Dioner Navarro scoring on a double-play grounder in the third inning.

The Blue Jays doubled the advantage in the fourth when Tulowitzki drew an RBI walk. Perez struggled with his command after two perfect innings to open the game. He ended up walking three and allowing four runs on six hits before getting pulled after allowing back-to-back hits to open the sixth inning.

Texas manager Jeff Banister opted to go with rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez after Perez exited. Gonzalez got two outs in the innings before Tulowitzki came up with runners on second third and changed the game for good.

"These guys did a really good job of limiting the damage and got the double plays when they needed to," said Banister, whose team stayed close thanks to four double plays in the first six innings. "The really big blow was the changeup to Tulowitzki that in that situation probably you'd like to stay with your best pitch with a base (open). But the margin for error in these types of games is so slim that one pitch typically can get you, and that really was the story of Chi Chi in that situation."

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Estrada, who won 13 games for the Blue Jays in the regular season, never faced those kinds of problems.

"He was unbelievable," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "But I've got to tell you, he's been doing that all year. Do-or-die game, it doesn't surprise me. He stepped up. You could tell early on he was on. It was a job well done, but he's been doing it all year."

The Rangers scored their lone run in the seventh on an grounder from second baseman Rougned Odor.

"(Estrada) has been tough the whole year," said Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus, who went 1-for-4 and scored the team's lone run. "He did it again. The angle, over the top, and he always likes to throw high fastballs, and he has an extremely good changeup and curveball. So it was his day. We knew it wasn't going to be easy."

Tulowitzki, third baseman Josh Donaldson and center fielder Ryan Pillar collected two hits apiece for Toronto. Left fielder Josh Hamilton finished with two of Texas' five hits.

NOTES: Texas LF Josh Hamilton snapped an 0-for-31 postseason slump with a fifth-inning single. His previous postseason hit came in the first inning of Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. ... Texas' Sunday battery of LHP Martin Perez and C Robinson Chirinos marked just the fourth time in postseason history a Venezuelan starting pitcher and catcher worked the playoffs. The last time it happened was in 2007 with the Colorado duo of Franklin Morales and Yorvit Torrealba. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre sat out a second consecutive game as he continued to get treatment for lower back stiffness. ... Former President George W. Bush, who used to be a part owner of Rangers, attended Game 3.

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