The Toronto Blue Jays ended the Texas Rangers’ season with a dramatic 7-6 10th-inning walk-off win Sunday night at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays swept the Rangers in the best of five ALDS and advance to the ALCS for the second consecutive season. The Rangers had the best record in the American League and won their second consecutive AL West title.
In the bottom of the 10th, Josh Donaldson led off with a double against reliever Matt Bush, who was starting his third inning of the game. The Rangers put Edwin Encarnacion on before Bush struck out Jose Bautista. Russell Martin grounded into what looked like to be an inning-ending double play. Elvis Andrus threw to Rougned Odor, who threw wild to Mitch Moreland at first base. Donaldson rounded third and slid home just before Moreland’s throw home.
Pitching: Colby Lewis was pulled after two-plus innings trailed 4-2. The Blue Jays scored three in the first on a two-run homer by Edwin Encarnacion and a solo homer by Russell Martin. That erased the Rangers’ brief 1-0 lead, their first in the series. In the third, Josh Donaldson’s ground-rule double scored Ezequiel Carrera to give the Jays a 4-2 lead. Lewis was pulled for Tony Barnette with no outs in the inning. He was charged with five runs on five hits.
Encarnacion singled to center to score Donaldson to make it 5-2. Alex Claudio pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. The Jays tied it with a run in the sixth. Jake Diekman replaced Jeremy Jeffress with one out and one on to face the left-hitting Michael Saunders. The Jays pinch-hit Melvin Upton, who lined a first-pitch double to the left-field corner to give the Jays runners at second and third. Keone Kela replaced Diekman. Kela needed one more out but a passed ball by catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowed Troy Tulowitzki to score from third to tie it at 6-6. Nomar Mazara’s long running catch on a slicing fly towards the right-field corner ended the inning and saved two more runs from scoring. Kela retired the heart of the Jays’ lineup in Donaldson, Encarnacion and Bautista in order in the seventh. Matt Bush pitched a perfect eighth.
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Hitting: Jays’ starter Aaron Sanchez struggled with his command and the Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first after Carlos Gomez led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Carlos Beltran’s groundout. Elvis Andrus’ solo homer to center pulled the Rangers to within 3-2. It’s Andrus’ first postseason homer after 169 at-bats. Rougned Odor’s two-run homer in the fourth cut Toronto’s lead to 5-4. With two outs in the sixth, Rougned Odor walked and Jonathan Lucroy singled to left. The Jays replaced Sanchez with Joe Biagini to pitch to Mitch Moreland, who doubled on a 0-1 fastball to the left-center gap past a diving Kevin Pillar. Both Odor and Lucroy scored to give the Rangers a 6-5 lead.
Notable: Lewis is the second Rangers pitcher to leave after just two innings in a postseason start. Derek Holland left after allowing six runs on five hits and a walk in two-plus innings in Game 4 of the ALDS in 2015 ... the Blue Jays hit eight homers in three ALDS games against the Rangers ... Bush threw a career-high 42 pitches (28 strikes). His previous major league high was 33 on Aug. 7 against the Astros. He also threw 41 for Double A Frisco on April 27.