ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Edwin Encarnacion capped a three-homer burst in the fifth inning off Yu Darvish and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 5-3 Friday to take a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.
Wearing spikes that had “No Panic” printed on them, closer Roberto Osuna got a five-out save that sent the wild-card Blue Jays home looking to clinch the best-of-five matchup. Game 3 is Sunday night.
A reminder, though: Last year, Toronto lost the first two games of the ALDS at home against Texas, then rallied to win the series.
Osuna entered after reliever Francisco Liriano was hit in the neck by Carlos Gomez’s line drive. It was Osuna’s first appearance since he left the mound in the AL wild-card win Tuesday night with a shoulder injury, putting his status in doubt.
Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Encarnacion, who ended the wild-card game with a three-run homer in the 11th inning, hit solo homers in a five-batter span in the fifth. Troy Tulowitzki’s two-run drive in the second put 20-game winner J.A. Happ and the Blue Jays ahead to stay.
Texas scored twice in the eighth, including Gomez’s single that struck Liriano. The pitcher walked off the mound, and an ambulance was waiting to take him to the hospital after the game.
A day after Cleveland homered three times in an inning against Boston and won its ALDS opener, the Blue Jays matched the feat on a dreary, misty afternoon in Texas.
The home runs boosted the Blue Jays in a game in which they got outhit 13-6.
Happ allowed nine hits but only run while pitching into the sixth. The left-hander struck out five and walked one.
Darvish had as many strikeouts (four) in his five innings as homers allowed, becoming the first pitcher to allow four homers in a postseason game since Minnesota’s Rick Reed against Oakland in Game 3 of the 2002 ALDS.
Texas has lost five straight ALDS games to the Blue Jays since winning the first two games in Toronto last October. The Rangers dropped to 1-11 in ALDS games in their home ballpark.
Osuna likely came in earlier than manager John Gibbons had planned, a move that followed Liriano getting struck.
The ball off Gomez’s bat was measured at 102 mph, and Liriano turned away just in time to avoid being hit in the face. Gomez winced as the ball caromed into right-center field to make it 5-2.
Ian Desmond drove in a run with a grounder before Osuna struck out Carlos Beltran to end the eighth.
Adrian Beltre was stranded at second after a leadoff double in the ninth.
Toronto opened the series with 10-1 win on Thursday, when Cole Hamels gave up seven runs in 3 1-3 innings. It was the worst postseason outing ever for the All-Star lefty who was the MVP of both the World Series and NLCS for Philadelphia in 2008.
Pillar started the homer frenzy in the fifth with a leadoff shot, his first drive since June 16 – a span of 79 games. Carrera hit a one-out shot into the Rangers bullpen in right-center field and Encarnacion hit a ball just over the wall and inside the left-field pole to make it 5-0.
After a bases-clearing triple in the opener, Tulowitzki got the Jays started in Game 2 with his homer that made it 2-0. Jose Bautista, 1 for 20 with nine strikeouts in his career against Darvish, had led off the second with a walk.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis was scratched from the starting lineup about an hour before first pitch because of right knee irritation.
Rangers: RF Shin-Soo Choo was out of the lineup after playing Game 1, but manager Jeff Banister said Choo was fine physically. Choo was on the disabled list four times this year, and had missed 39 games with a broken left forearm until last weekend.
Blue Jays: One of the two losses by RHP Aaron Sanchez was to Texas, when he gave up a season high-matching six runs and was the loser in that May 15 game with the bench-clearing brawl after Bautista was punched by Rougned Odor.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis, who starts game 3, is 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA in nine career postseason games (eight starts) for Texas. In 2010, he won the AL Championship Series clincher to get the Rangers to their first World Series, and beat San Francisco in Game 3 for their only victory in that series.