The Blue Jays beat the Royals 7-1 in Toronto on Wednesday to extend the ALCS and get the series back to Kansas City with the Royals ahead 3-2. Here’s what you need to know about Game 5 (GameTracker).
1. Marco Estrada was brilliant.
Three hits allowed. One walk. No runs until a solo home run by Salvador Perez in the eighth. Using mostly an 89 mph four-seam fastball and changeup, Estrada kept the aggressive Royals from being able to jump on him early in the count. He faced the minimum number of batters for the first six innings, with a double play wiping out a single by Alcides Escobar. Toronto’s offense gave him a one-run lead in the second and he protected it hawkishly until the Jays added insurance in a four-run sixth inning.
2. Estrada’s clean first inning was a long time coming.
‘No, YOU all are the man. And the woman. Men and women.’ (USATSI)
Kansas City came in having scored 18 runs in the past 10 innings, and had amassed 30 hits in the past two games, but the Royals were quiet from the start in Game 5. Estrada set down the Royals 1-2-3 in the first inning, which had not happened in 20 postseason games since Matt Shoemaker of the Angels did it in Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS. The Royals won that game, however.
3. David Price warmed up, but he didn’t have to pitch.
Only 15.2 percent of teams that are down 3-1 in a best-of-7 series come back to win it. In order to maximize their chances in the series, the Blue Jays needed not only to win, but also to minimize the amount of relief pitchers used in Game 5. And don’t use Price at all if they could help it. Other than losing the pennant outright, a nightmare scenario included winning Game 5 but having to use Price in relief — and he was warming up in the seventh inning. Instead of putting a hardship on the rest of the staff, Estrada lasting until the eighth, allowing Price to step back and get ready for a start in Game 6, with Marcus Stroman waiting in the wings for Game 7.
4. Troy Tulowitzki was clutch.
Hampered with his swing as he heals from a fractured scapula sustained 5 1/2 weeks ago, Tulowitzki hasn’t been 100 percent in his return. But he has been heating up at the plate, and some of his hits have been super timely. His three-run double in the sixth against Kelvin Herrera made it 5-0 and changed the nature of the rest of the game. Over his past four games, he’s 7 for 15 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBI. Tulo had started 2 for 25 (with one hit a three-run homer) this postseason.
5. Chris Colabello’s home run had an international dimension.
Chris Colabello has now homered off Edinson Volquez in the regular season, World Baseball Classic and MLB postseason.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 21, 2015
Colabello had quite a journey to the majors, starting out in independent ball after not getting drafted. He has played internationally for Italy, including the World Baseball Classic, where his home country played Volquez’s, the Dominican Republic.
6. The top of the Jays order stayed patient and tenacious against Volquez in the sixth.
The Jays led by a slim run in the sixth when Volquez’s control began to elude him. Ben Revere drew a leadoff walk and Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch in the left elbow to put the first two men aboard. Jose Bautista worked a 10-pitch walk that included five foul balls on fastballs accelerating in velocity from 96-98 mph. The 10th pitch, an 83 mph breaking ball, hit the strike zone but Bautista took it and umpire Dan Iassogna missed the call. Volquez continued to miss against Edwin Encarnacion, walking him on six pitches to force in a run.
It might be a different game if Volquez gets the call on Bautista, but credit the batter for quite a battle.
“I can say that, maybe, I got the benefit of a borderline call go my way,” Bautista said to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Touch my hand here, Tulo. (USATSI)
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