Half measure: Blue Jays cut Texas' ALDS lead

October 11th, 2015

ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays stayed alive and have renewed hope in the best-of-five American League Division Series after Troy Tulowitzki hit a three-run homer and Marco Estrada tossed 6 1/3 strong innings to prevent the Rangers' potential celebration Sunday night.
Tulowitzki's first hit of the series was a huge one, and Estrada held Texas to five hits as the Blue Jays took Game 3 of the ALDS with a 5-1 victory at Globe Life Park. The Rangers now have a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 scheduled for 4:07 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet) on Monday in Arlington.
:: ALDS: Rangers vs. Blue Jays -- Tune-in info ::
"Coming into Texas, [the thought] was hopefully we can get on the board first, and we did that tonight," said Tulowitzki. "It's kind of what they did to us in Toronto, so hopefully [in Game 4] we can do the same thing and get back to Toronto and see what Game 5 is."
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Estrada, making his first postseason start and third postseason appearance, had the Rangers flummoxed with his fastball-changeup combination. He didn't walk a batter and struck out four while throwing 57 of his 89 pitches for strikes.
"It still looks good for us," Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder said. "We're still in a good spot and we're still at home. We just need to go out there and get one tomorrow."
Rangers starter Martin Perez retired the first six batters he faced, then kept running into trouble by allowing the leadoff hitter to reach base. The Rangers were able to limit the damage only up to a point, turning double plays to help limit the damage.
That's why the Blue Jays had only a 2-0 lead going into the sixth, when Josh Donaldson led off with an infield single and went to third on a single by Jose Bautista. That put runners at corners and Perez was done for the night.

Rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez took over and walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. Chris Colabello followed with a sharp grounder at first baseman Mitch Moreland, who threw home to start a 3-2-3 double play.
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That left runners at second and third for Tulowitzki. With first base open, Gonzalez fell behind, 3-1, got Tulowitzki to foul off a slider for strike two, and then left a changeup over the plate. Tulowitzki hit it over the left-field wall for his first home run in 40 at-bats going back to Sept. 6.
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"I felt like the first game I swung the bat well, just no results," Tulowitzki said. "It's only a matter of two games, so you just stick with it. You know it will come around, and just keep on battling. I think that's what I've been doing all year, and it paid off tonight."
The Rangers scratched out a run in the seventh, but they are now 1-8 at home in nine Division Series games over six trips to the postseason in franchise history.
"We're just taking it game by game," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "It won't be easy, but we knew that. Tonight they just played better than us."

Tulo time: Tulowitzki was 0-for-11 in the ALDS when he stepped to the plate in the top of the sixth. Toronto had grounded into four rally-killing double plays in the game and were in serious danger of missing another golden scoring opportunity until Tulowitzki connected for a 5-0 Blue Jays lead.
"We weren't able to finish them until Tulo hit that homer," Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro said. "We had bases loaded a couple of times and we hit into ground-ball double plays, but it's just part of the game. Bottom line, we got the win today, and we've got another huge game tomorrow, and [we have to] play our butt off." More >

Hamilton breaks skid:Josh Hamilton snapped an 0-for-31 postseason skid with a fifth-inning single off Estrada. It was the Rangers' second hit of the game and Hamilton's first in the postseason since a first-inning double in Game 1 of the 2011 World Series. More >

Starting early: The Blue Jays were forced to play from behind in each of the first two games, but they scored first in Game 3. Navarro sparked the previously stagnant offense with a double over the head of center fielder Delino DeShields. Navarro advanced to third base on an infield hit by Kevin Pillar and later scored on a double play off the bat of Ryan Goins. Toronto finished the regular season 65-22 when scoring first, 28-46 when the opposition scored first.

Rangers rally fizzles: The Rangers didn't get two runners on base in an inning until the seventh. Andrus and Hamilton both singled with one out and ended up at second and third on right fielder Bautista's error. Left-hander Aaron Loup took over and got Rougned Odor on a grounder to shortstop that scored one run. But Mark Lowe then came in and locked up Robinson Chirinos on a full-count slider to end the inning.
"We're just facing good pitching," Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo said. "Nothing has changed. We have a good offense, we're just facing good pitchers, especially tonight."

The four RBIs from Tulowitzki were the most by a Blue Jays player in the postseason since Joe Carter had four in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. It was one shy of the franchise record, which belongs to Tony Fernandez (Game 4 of the '93 World Series).


"It's not relief yet. We're going out there, we're playing for our lives, and it's just a matter of going out there and, like I said all along, trusting your teammates, trusting your own ability, going out there and performing to your best." -- Donaldson
"Didn't feel like that we played the game poorly tonight. There were a couple pitches that got away from us tonight. We couldn't find the barrel enough and we couldn't get anything going, we couldn't get the leadoff runner on typically, which is really profitable for us in our offense." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister

Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will attempt to keep the Blue Jays' season alive when they take on the Rangers in Game 4 of the ALDS. Dickey made his Major League debut with Texas in 2001 but this will be his first appearance in the postseason. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet. More >
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland tries to close it out for the Rangers in Game 4 at 3 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1. Holland was 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in his last five regular-season starts and is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA in four starts and nine appearances in his postseason career. More >