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Toronto Blue Jays extend series with 7-1 win

By
Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run double with the bases loaded against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning in the ALCS game 5 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on October 21, 2015. Kansas City holds a 3-1 series lead over Toronto. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run double with the bases loaded against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning in the ALCS game 5 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on October 21, 2015. Kansas City holds a 3-1 series lead over Toronto. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Marco Estrada and his magical changeup gave the Kansas City Royals more than they could handle Wednesday.

At the same time, the right-hander gave the Toronto Blue Jays everything they needed.

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He allowed one run, three hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had three RBIs and the Blue Jays avoided elimination with a 7-1 victory over the Royals in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

The Royals lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Friday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

"We've seen him pitch like that all year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Estrada. "We've seen him take a couple of no-hitters late into games.

"The fact that it was an elimination game, he really rose to the occasion."

Estrada (2-1) faced one batter above the minimum before Royals catcher Salvador Perez homered to right with two outs in the eighth inning.

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When left fielder Alex Gordon followed with a single, right-hander Aaron Sanchez replaced Estrada. Right fielder Alex Rios singled and shortstop Alcides Escobar flied to right to end the inning.

Tulowitzki doubled with the bases loaded against right-handed reliever Kelvin Herrera for the only hit in a four-run sixth inning to break the game open for Toronto.

Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez (1-2) allowed five runs, three hits and four walks and hit a batter in five-plus innings.

It was a reversal from Game 1 of the ALCS won 5-0 by the Royals when Volquez outpitched Estrada, who said he had trouble with fastball command during that start.

"Today, he was absolutely dynamite, he didn't miss spots," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His changeup was fantastic."

Estrada said, "This time around I had better command of my fastball.That was the key to this game. The first game I couldn't locate the down-and-away pitch. Today I threw a lot of good ones."

Gibbons said Volquez was similar to his first start "except we were able to get to get to him."

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Estrada retired Escobar on a grounder to third on the first pitch of the game. It was the first time in the ALCS that Escobar failed to lead off a game with a hit. The four straight games with a leadoff hit are a postseason record.

First baseman Chris Colabello homered with one out in the second to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. It was his second postseason homer.

Estrada retired the first nine hitters before Escobar led off the fourth with a single, but he was erased when second baseman Ben Zobrist grounded into a double play.

Left fielder Ben Revere led off the Toronto sixth with a walk and third baseman Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch. Right fielder Jose Bautista fouled off four 97 mph fastballs on a full count before walking to load the bases, a close call that the Royals questioned.

"I thought the pitch to Bautista was definitely a strike," Yost said. "I thought we had a chance on him swinging, but we couldn't get anybody's attention on it."

Volquez said, "I saw the pitch and that was a strike. A breaking ball doesn't have to be right in the middle (when it's caught). What matters is where it was when it crosses the plate."

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Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion walked on a full count to force in a run and give Toronto a 2-0 lead.

"Probably could have gone either way; we just didn't get the call there," Yost said.

Herrera replaced Volquez and struck out Colabello before Tulowitzki cleared the bases with a double to center and Toronto led 5-0.

"They have home-field advantage," Tulowitzki said. "Our backs are going to be against the wall. But you look at it, we've got to win two games. ... It's possible."

Estrada allowed his second runner of the game when he walked center fielder Lorenzo Cain with two outs in the seventh but ended the inning when first baseman Eric Hosmer flied out to left.

Cain was 0-for-3 to end a 13-game postseason hitting streak.

The Blue Jays added a run in the seventh on doubles by Donaldson and Bautista against left-hander Danny Duffy. Toronto scored again in the eighth on a single by Tulowitzki and a double by center fielder Kevin Pillar, who was out trying for a triple.

"We're going to have to go home and try to lock it up before our own fans," Hosmer said. "Estrada threw a great game and we couldn't get anything going offensively."

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Volquez said, "I think that is the best way to end it in K.C. That's where we live, that's where we play. It's always a great feeling to be back in K.C. and finish them off then."

Left-hander David Price will start Game 6 for Toronto against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura.

NOTES: With 15 hits in each of Games 3 and 4, the Royals became the fourth team in postseason history to have 15 or more hits in consecutive postseason games and the first since the Los Angeles Angels in Games 2 and 3 of the 2002 World Series. ... The Royals' four sacrifice flies in their 14-2 win on Tuesday set a postseason record. SS Alcides Escobar became the sixth player with two sacrifice flies in a postseason game. ... The 14-2 loss in Game 4 marked the second time the Blue Jays have allowed 14 runs in a postseason game. In Game 4 of the 1993 World Series, they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 15-14. ... Blue Jays INF Cliff Pennington became the first position player to pitch in the postseason in the ninth inning on Tuesday when he allowed two hits in one-third of an inning.

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