After taking the first two games on the road, the Texas Rangers returned home Sunday night for Game 3 of the ALDS, looking to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays and advance to their third ALCS in six seasons.
The Blue Jays, of course, were just looking to live to see another day. The resounding favorite to win the pennant just one week ago, Toronto entered Game 3 with the almost impossible 0-2 series deficit to makeup.
However, it’s now slightly more possible as the Blue Jays did defeat the Rangers 5-1 in Game 3.
They each threw two perfect innings out of the gate, but it was Perez who was the first to falter. Dioner Navarro doubled to lead off the top of the third, followed by a Kevin Pillar single to put runners at the corners with no outs. Ryan Goins then grounded into a double play, but Navarro scored, making it 1-0 Toronto.
Things got worse for Perez in the fourth inning. Following a Josh Donaldson leadoff double, Perez got Jose Bautista to fly out. But an intentional walk to Edwin Encarnacion followed by two unintentional walks to Chris Colabello and Troy Tulowitzki allowed Donaldson to score and expand Toronto’s lead to 2-0. Perez luckily got Navarro to ground into a double play to avoid any further damage.
On the flip-side, Estrada mowed through the Rangers’ lineup all night long, hurling 6.1 innings of one-run ball. He struck out four and walked none, and was as effective as manager John Gibbons could have hoped for.
If Texas ever had a chance, it was obliterated by Tulowitzki’s three-run shot in the sixth off of Chi Chi Gonzalez. It was Tulo’s first postseason home run since Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS, when he was a rookie sensation with the Colorado Rockies.
The Rangers’ only run came on a Rougned Odor RBI groundout in the seventh. Toronto’s bullpen made quick work of Texas once Estrada left, with Aaron Loup, Mark Lowe, and Aaron Sanchez setting up Roberto Osuna to close it out. The win marks Toronto’s first in the postseason since Joe Carter‘s legendary walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.
Game 4 is tomorrow afternoon at 4pm EST. As of now, Toronto is sticking to its plan of starting 40-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in what would be his first postseason start. There are rumblings that they’ll turn to David Price on three-days’ rest instead, for obvious reasons. Texas, on the other hand, will certainly start left-hander and spot-on Harry Caray/Tim Kurkjian impersonator Derek Holland.