Toronto used the long ball to batter Texas starter Yu Darvish and then hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Rangers on Friday afternoon to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
Texas outhit the Jays 13-6 but the Rangers paid for taking a knife to a gunfight, spraying singles while the Jays swung for the fences. Texas left 13 men on base.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer in the second inning while Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Edwin Encarnacion added solo shots — all in the fifth — for Toronto.
“Four home runs, four unexecuted pitches,” lamented Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
Still there were some nervy moments as Texas mounted a comeback in the eighth, scoring twice before closer Roberto Osuna — back in action after a slight shoulder issue — got the two outs needed to extinguish the threat. Osuna came into the game after Francisco Liriano was removed after taking a batted ball in the back of the head. Liriano left the game under his own power, but was taken from the stadium to hospital by ambulance.
The white-knuckle ride continued in the ninth when Adrian Beltre doubled off the left-field wall, with the ball bouncing back between outfielder Melvin Upton’s legs. Osuna ended the drama with a strikeout, popout and flyout to cap a 31-pitch outing for his save.
The Blue Jays return home, sitting pretty with AL ERA leader Aaron Sanchez set to throw Sunday night at the Rogers Centre. While the champagne may be chilling, they will remember that Texas won the first two games of the 2015 ALDS series on the road before losing the next three.