Blue Jays romp past Rangers, Indians edge Red Sox
ARLINGTON, Texas — Toronto’s Marco Estrada held Texas scoreless into the ninth inning as the Blue Jays cruised to a 10-1 win over the Rangers on Thursday in the opening game of their American League Division Series.
It was much closer in the other ALDS opener as Cleveland closer Cody Allen struck out Boston’s Dustin Pedroia with a runner on base to clinch a 5-4 victory for the Indians.
Estrada’s efforts were complemented by a strong offensive performance, punctuated by Jose Bautista’s three-run homer.
Bautista, who infuriated Texas players with a provocative bat flip after his tiebreaking homer in the ALDS clincher last October, and who got punched in revenge the last time the Blue Jays played in Texas in May, drove in four runs. He drove in a run in Toronto’s five-run third inning.
Bautista added a 425-foot blast in the ninth inning, and the Blue Jays slugger seemed to deliberately drop the bat softly near home plate.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a bases-loaded triple for the Blue Jays. Toronto has won four straight overall, including an 11-inning victory over Baltimore in the AL wild-card game.
Estrada, an All-Star this season, limited Texas to four hits but was removed after his shutout bid ended in the ninth.
Bautista was booed heartily during pregame introductions and while he batted in the first inning. There also were chants of “Rougie! Rougie!” — those were for Rougned Odor, the second baseman who punched Bautista and ignited a bench-clearing brawl in their last meeting May 15. Odor was suspended seven games.
By time Bautista led off the seventh with a walk, the ballpark was quiet with the Rangers down 7-0.
Texas starter Cole Hamels threw 42 of his 82 pitches in the third. He allowed seven runs (six earned) with three walks in just 3 1/3 innings.
Cleveland took the early initiative against Boston by hitting three homers in the space of nine pitches by Rick Porcello in the third inning.
Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Robert Perez went deep in the third off Porcello, a 22-game winner this season who lasted just 4-1/3 innings in his shortest outing this year.
However the Red Sox did not fold easily, and were right in the contest until the final pitch.
Indians reliever Andrew Miller pitched two scoreless innings for the win. He struck out Boston slugger David Ortiz with two runners on to end the fifth and threw a season-high 40 pitches.
Boston’s Brock Holt hit a leadoff homer in the eighth that made it 5-4 before Allen struck out Xander Bogaerts with the potential tying run at third to end the inning.
Boston put a runner on first with two outs in the ninth. Pedroia worked the count full but was called for a third strike on a checked swing and argued furiously with the plate umpire as the Indians and their fans celebrated victory.
“In real time, it’s a borderline call,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “Looking at it later, he swung.”
Game 2 of both series will be on Friday, along with the opening games in the National League Division Series: San Francisco at the Chicago Cubs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington.
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