Blue Jays sweep Rangers, reach ALCS with walk-off win

Colby Lewis, Mitch Moreland and Jeff banister discuss the end of the Rangers season.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays certainly seem to have a flair for the dramatic when it comes to knocking the Rangers out of the postseason.

Toronto clinched an American League Championship Series berth on Sunday night in walk-off fashion on an aggressive baserunning play by Josh Donaldson that spoiled a brilliant performance by the Texas bullpen. After doubling to lead off the bottom of tenth inning, Donaldson took third on a Russell Martin grounder then raced home when second baseman Rougned Odor's attempt to turn a double play sailed way from first baseman Mitch Moreland, giving the Blue Jays a 7-6 victory.

One year ago, they eliminated the Rangers in Game 5 of the ALDS on a timely homer -- and much-discussed bat-flip -- by slugger Jose Bautista.

The Blue Jays will play Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday against the winner of the Cleveland-Boston series, in which the Indians hold a 2-0 advantage.

In front of a raucous but generally well-behaved crowd at the Rogers Centre, the Rangers opened the scoring in the top of the first, plating a run on a series of productive outs after a leadoff walk and stolen base by Carlos Gomez.

The Blue Jays answered immediately with three runs in the bottom half of the first. After the Rangers endured rough performances from aces Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in Games 1 and 2 of the series, veteran starter Colby Lewis yielded three runs thanks to homers by Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin.

Elvis Andrus homered in the top of the third to draw the Rangers within one, but the Blue Jays chased Lewis with a pair of hits to start the bottom of the frame. Both runners scored before reliever Tony Barnette could escape the jam.

But the Rangers, facing ALDS elimination at the Blue Jays' hands for the second straight year, remained patient against Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez as he struggled to throw strikes. Texas scored two in the top of the fourth on a homer by Rougned Odor, then rallied for two more to take a one-run lead in the sixth. Sanchez allowed only three hits across 5 1/3 innings, but his four walks helped the Rangers tag him for six earned runs.

The Rangers' lead didn't last long, though, as the Blue Jays secured an unearned run to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded passed ball by Texas catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

Neither team managed as much as a baserunner from the top of the seventh until Donaldson doubled to lead off the bottom of the 10th.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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