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Toronto Blue Jays bash their way back into ALCS

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
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Toronto Blue Jays bash their way back into ALCS
Toronto Blue Jays Josh Donaldson (20) celebrates solo home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in the ALCS game 3 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on October 19, 2015. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- There was nothing wrong with the Toronto Blue Jays that a return home could not fix.

After being held to three runs while losing the first two games of the American League Championship Series to the Royals in Kansas City, the Blue Jays cranked three home runs Monday and held on for an 11-8 victory in Game 3.

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The Royals, who scored four runs in the ninth to make the game close, lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

"We desperately needed that breakout," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You look at how the game finished up, those runs really came in handy. It wasn't an easy game even though we had a big lead."

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit a three-run homer in the third inning. Third baseman Josh Donaldson added a two-run blast in the third, and second baseman Ryan Goins hit solo shot in the fifth and also played superbly in the field.

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Goins pulled up on a catchable fly to shallow right field Sunday that dropped for a single and started the Royals' game-changing, five-run seventh inning.

"I just put the game in Kansas City behind me," Goins said. "We had the day off (Sunday), came in worked out, and (Monday) it was probably the last thing on my mind."

Tulowitzki was ejected after the seventh as he continued to argue a third strike called against him during the inning.

The shortstop has struggled at the plate, entering the game 4-for-29 (.138) in the postseason, but after going 2-for-4 on Monday, he has eight RBIs. He hit a three-run homer against the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series.

Tulowitzki is dealing with a fracture in his left shoulder blade, an injury he sustained Sept. 12 that caused him to sit out the next 18 games.

"Just trying to get good pitches, put good swings on it," Tulowitzki said. "Battling with the shoulder at times, trying to gut it out and give everything I have, and (Monday) it was enough to help us win."

Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales capped a three-hit game with a two-run homer in the ninth. Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar had four hits, including a triple, and second baseman Ben Zobrist had three doubles.

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Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman (1-0) picked up his first win in the postseason, allowing four runs, 11 hits and one walk in 6 1/3 innings. He had one strikeout before right-hander Aaron Sanchez took over.

Royals right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-1) did not retire a batter in Toronto's six-run third. He left after two-plus innings, charged with eight runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter.

"He couldn't command the ball down," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He was up all night long. Just really struggled with his command. Got his pitch count up (69 pitches) and just couldn't make an adjustment."

Right-hander Kris Medlen replaced Cueto and allowed two runs on three hits, two of them solo homers, in five innings. Yost said it saved his bullpen.

"Very, very crucial," Yost said. "It was a great job by Kris Medlen."

The Royals scored once in the first after Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista misplayed a leadoff hit by Escobar into a triple. Escobar scored on Zobrist's groundout to second.

Toronto replied with three runs in the second.

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Tulowitzki singled with one out, and catcher Russell Martin was hit by a pitch. Center fielder Kevin Pillar, who made a sensational catch in the first, forced Martin at second with a grounder to shortstop and stole second uncontested.

Goins hit a two-run single to left, left fielder Ben Revere walked, and Donaldson hit an RBI single.

The Royals cut the lead to 3-2 in the third. Zobrist led off with a double, took third on center fielder Lorenzo Cain's infield single and scored on first baseman Eric Hosmer's grounder to first.

Tulowitzki's second three-run homer of the postseason keyed Toronto's six-run third.

The blast to center followed a leadoff single by designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and a walk by first baseman Chris Colabello.

Martin walked and scored on Pillar's double. Medlen replaced Cueto and retired two batters before Donaldson hit a two-run homer to left.

The Royals scored twice in the fifth, trimming the lead to 9-4. Escobar led off with a single, took third on Zobrist's double and scored on a wild pitch. Morales walked and scored on a single by third baseman Mike Moustakas.

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Goins homered with two outs in the fifth.

The Blue Jays scored a run in the eighth against left-hander Franklin Morales on Bautista's RBI single.

Blue Jays right-hander Liam Hendriks got only one out, a sacrifice fly by Cain in the ninth, allowing three runs and three hits, including an RBI single by Hosmer.

Right-hander Roberto Osuna allowed the homer by Morales before finishing the game.

"It's always tough when you dig a hole like that." Moustakas said. "Again, this team never quits, never gives up. We showed it again tonight, we just came up a little short."

NOTES: The Blue Jays claimed LHP/RHP Pat Venditte off waivers from Oakland on Monday and designated INF Darwin Barney for assignment. The ambidextrous Venditte, 30, was 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 26 relief appearances with the A's. He is not eligible for postseason play. ... The sale of cans of beer in the 500 level at Rogers Centre was stopped. Instead, beer was poured into plastic cups. Beer cans were thrown on the field Wednesday during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers. ... Royals RHP Chris Young (11-6, 3.06 ERA regular season; 0-0, 2.25 ERA postseason) will make his first start of this postseason Tuesday in Game 4 against Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA regular season; 0-0, 1.93 ERA postseason).

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