Blue Jays beat Rangers to win wild Game 5; Royals top Astros
TORONTO - Jose Bautista wiped out the need for protests or umpire reviews with the Toronto Blue Jays' biggest home run since Joe Carter's historic shot.
Toronto earned its first trip to the American League Championship Series since Carter's World Series-ending drive in 1993, overcoming one of the craziest plays in playoff history when Bautista hit a three-run homer after three Texas Rangers errors for a 6-3 victory Wednesday in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series.
"It's the most emotionally charged game that I've ever played," Bautista said.
The Blue Jays became the third team to win a best-of-five series after losing the first two games at home. The 2001 Yankees also did it against Oakland, and the 2012 Giants did it against Cincinnati. Both of those teams went on to reach the World Series.
"The odds were against us but I don't think these guys ever thought we were out of it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto, who led the majors in homers this season, will play the Royals, who beat Houston in Game 5 of their series, a rematch of the 1985 ALCS. Game 1 is Friday night in Kansas City.
"It doesn't really matter, we're just happy we're going to the next round," Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson said. "Whoever we play is a very, very good opponent."
Bautista's homer capped an event-filled, 53-minute seventh inning that took a turn when Toronto catcher Russell Martin's seemingly routine throw back to the pitcher deflected off batter Shin-Soo Choo and allowed the tiebreaking to score.
"That was crazy," Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman said. "With all that happened, we did a good job of keeping our emotions in check."
The Blue Jays filed a protest after an umpire review ruled Rougned Odor was allowed to cross home plate. Toronto fans pelted the field with debris during the 18-minute delay.
The Rangers started the bottom half by making errors on three straight groundballs, and Toronto rallied. Benches cleared twice in the Blue Jays' half of the inning.
Roberto Osuna got the final five outs for his first postseason save.
Osuna turned toward the outfield after striking out Wil Venable, looked to the sky and was mobbed by his teammates as jubilant fans rocked the Rogers Centre.
After Edwin Encarnacion tied it 2-all with a second-deck drive off tough-luck loser Cole Hamels in the sixth, Odor led off the seventh with a single and went to third on a sacrifice and groundout.
With Choo up, Martin's throw back to reliever Aaron Sanchez deflected off Choo and dribbled toward third base.
Home plate umpire Dale Scott initially ruled it a dead ball but, after Rangers manager Jeff Banister questioned the call, the umpires huddled and Odor was sent home. Martin was given an error.
"I just caught the ball and threw it back very casually and it hit his bat and then next thing you know run scores," Martin said. "It's never happened in my life before. It's just one of those moments, and it created an opportunity for us to do something special."
Scott acknowledged making a mistake with his initial ruling. "I was mixing up two rules," he said. "If there's no intent, if he's not out of the box, that throw is live."
In the seventh, Bautista hit a towering drive into the second deck, glaring as he stood at home plate to admire his go-ahead drive, enthusiastically flipping his bat away.
With some fans continuing to litter the field, Encarnacion turned to face the crowd and appealed for calm, lifting his bat and helmet over his head. Dyson took exception and walked over to confront Encarnacion, leading to both dugouts and both bullpens emptying.
"I told him Jose needs to calm that down, respect the game a little more," Dyson said.
During the scrum that was quickly dissolved, 20 Toronto police officers stood across the outfield, while others gathered along the foul lines. Police later took position on the roof of the Rangers' first base dugout before the bottom of the ninth.
Encarnacion and Chris Colabello both singled when play resumed, but the bat-around inning ended when Troy Tulowitzki fouled out. Dyson made contact with Tulowitzki as he walked off, leading benches to clear again, with Texas catcher Chris Gimenez shoving Tulowitzki.
Texas opened the scoring in the first when Delino DeShields scored on a fielder's choice by Prince Fielder. Choo homered off Marcus Stroman in the third to make it 2-0.
Choo's homer was the first for the Rangers since Odor connected off David Price in the seventh inning of Game 1.
Toronto cut the deficit in half in the third on Bautista's two-out double.