DYK? Joey Bats' b-day feat among G3 rarities
The Blue Jays rebounded emphatically in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, slugging their way to a wild 11-8 victory over the Royals.
It was one of the best offensive performances ever by a team facing a 2-0 deficit in a series, and one of the highest-scoring ALCS games of all-time.
Here's a look at 10 critical facts and figures you need to know about Game 3:
• Monday was Jose Bautista's 35th birthday, and he celebrated by going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. Bautista became just the second player in postseason history to reach base three times on his birthday, joining Keith Hernandez, who went 2-for-4 with two walks for the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1982 World Series.
• The Blue Jays became just the fourth team in Major League history to fall behind 2-0 in a series and respond with at least 10 runs in Game 3. The 2001 Mariners and the 1999 Red Sox scored 14 and 13 runs, respectively, in Game 3 of the ALCS, but they would each drop the next two games. The 1921 New York Giants, meanwhile, beat the Yankees, 13-5, in Game 3 and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the best-of-nine World Series, five games to three.
• The Blue Jays led the Majors in home runs during the regular season, in large part because they got contributions from everyone. On Monday, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, third baseman Josh Donaldson and second baseman Ryan Goins all went deep. Toronto became just the second team in postseason history to get homers from those three positions in the same game, joining the 1995 Red Sox, who did so in Game 1 of the ALDS. (Luis Alicea, 2B; John Valentin, SS; and Tim Naehring, 3B all homered for Boston.)
• Toronto's win snapped a streak of nine consecutive ALCS victories for Kansas City, dating back to 1985, when the Royals rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Blue Jays. The nine-game run fell one shy of the all-time LCS win streak set by Baltimore from 1969-73.
• Royals starter Johnny Cueto got the hook in the top of the third inning after struggling mightily in the opening frames. He allowed eight earned runs, becoming the first pitcher in postseason history to give up eight earned while recording six outs or fewer. (In the 1992 NLCS against Pittsburgh, Atlanta's Tom Glavine gave up eight runs in the second inning of Game 6, but only seven were earned.)
• If you remember, back in 2012, Cueto, then with Cincinnati, was lifted in the first inning of his Game 1 NLDS start against the Giants because of back spasms. With his short start on Monday, Cueto became just the 19th pitcher in history to record six outs or fewer in two separate postseason starts. Bob Turley holds the record with four such outings for the Yankees, spread across four World Series from 1955-60. Among active pitchers, only Bartolo Colon and Jaime Garcia have also done so twice. (Tim Hudson and A.J. Burnett would be on the list as well, but both retired after the 2015 season.)
• With 11 runs, Toronto set a franchise ALCS scoring record, surpassing the previous mark set in the series-clinching, 9-2 victory over Oakland in 1992. The only time the Blue Jays have ever scored more in a postseason game came during their famous 15-14 win over Philadelphia in Game 4 of the 1993 Fall Classic -- the highest-scoring World Series game of all-time.
• The 19 combined runs between the two ballclubs are tied for the third most ever to be scored in an ALCS game. The Yankees' 19-8 Game 3 win over Boston in 2004 and the Rangers' 15-5 Game 6 victory over Detroit in '11 are the only ALCS games to feature more scoring.
• The Blue Jays are the fifth team in history to have found themselves in an 0-2 hole twice in the same postseason. All five teams -- the 1981 Dodgers, '85 Royals, '99 Red Sox and 2001 Yankees -- won both of their Game 3s. (Those Dodgers and Royals teams would eventually win the World Series).
• We probably should have known we'd be in for a wacky night right away. The first batter of the game, Kansas City's Alcides Escobar, blooped a hit to right field and past a sprawling Bautista. Escobar easily reached third base after the ball bounced away and was credited with a triple. It was just the second time in history that an ALCS Game began with a triple -- and the first time since George Brett opened Game 4 of the 1978 ALCS with a three-bagger off the Yankees' Ron Guidry.