Rangers Win Again, Lead ALDS 2-0 Over Toronto


The Texas Rangers picked up a huge 6-4 win at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays to go up 2-0 in the ALDS.

Texas Rangers infielder Hanser Alberto was only in this critical Game 2 of the American League Division Series in Toronto because gold-glove third baseman Adrian Beltre sat out with a sore back. Alberto’s 2nd-inning error on a ground ball hit by Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had snowballed an inning that was starting pitcher Cole Hamels‘ worst of the game. Toronto would tie the score at 3-3 while eradicating a fast 2-0 Rangers lead in the top of the 1st frame.

In what seemed like ages later – in the 14th inning, mind you – Alberto’s 2-out RBI single broke a 4-4 tie that had remained in tact since the 8th inning. Alberto had picked up his first RBI back in the 2nd inning, which pushed Texas back up 3-1 following a Josh Donaldson home run off Hamels in the bottom of the 1st inning.

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But it was Alberto’s big hit in the 14th that will obviously be most remembered by Rangers fans – and probably Blue Jays fans as well.

Center fielder Delino DeShields followed up Alberto’s hit with an RBI single of his own which proved enough for a dramatic and tense 6-4 win over the Blue Jays.

Stunning is the fact that the Rangers got nothing, again, from their power hitters. Not like the Blue Jays are lighting up the bleacher seats with long balls, but Toronto does have homers by both Donaldson and Jose Bautista in each of the first two games of the series.

Texas has home runs from Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos, both coming in Game 1.

Odor scored two runs in Game 2 that were probably the best slow-motion replays I’ve ever seen at home plate. His base running and constant aggression at the plate have been a thorn in the side of Toronto. Odor’s final score came all the way from second base after Alberto drove a base hit to center.

Odor’s first score came in the 2nd inning after he had drawn what seemed to be a simple walk. Catcher Chris Gimenez followed with a chopper to Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman, who made the play at first, but the Toronto infield managed to leave third base uncovered long enough for Odor to take that base as well as second. Alberto’s short fly ball to right field gave Bautista a running start towards home plate, but Odor tagged up and won the challenge on a photo-finishing slide that he beat out only because he pulled his left arm down, thus forcing Toronto catcher Russell Martin to whiff on the tag until it was too late.

After two games of this series, it’s clear that Rangers are the hungrier team, no matter how long it’s been since the Blue Jays were in the postseason.

Further, Texas had no home runs in this game, prompting television announcer Bob Costas to use the phrase, “death by a thousand cuts” in describing how the Rangers were beating the Blue Jays in their own backyard – again.

It seems like days ago that all the talk was of Hamels facing Stroman in what promised to be a pitchers duel at Rogers Centre, which this game was. Both pitchers went seven innings while giving up four runs – not exactly dominant on either part, but both pitchers had very solid stretches following the early excitement.

However, this game was decided by a Rangers bullpen that was nothing short of ominous for the home team

Texas used a collection of Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, Shawn Tolleson, Keone Kela and finally Ross Ohlendorf to put away the Blue Jays. All told, those pitchers gave up just two hits, two walks and struck out nine Blue Jays hitters in a game that Toronto really needed.

Instead, the Rangers know that there’s really no reason to make another trip to Canada during the ALDS.

Game 3 takes place on Sunday beginning at 7:10pm CDT.

Rangers Notes:

Josh Hamilton has a current streak of 30 consecutive postseason at bats without a single hit – that’s not a misprint. Hamilton’s dubious run dates back to the 2011 World Series, when Texas was playing the St. Louis Cardinals.

Texas’ middle of the lineup has been next to non-existent over the first two games, a trend that one would think will come to an end. If so, this likely takes place at Globe Life Park and probably means the franchise’s third trip to the American League Championship Series. Beltre, Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland and Hamilton are a combined 2 for 21 in the series – yet the Rangers lead 2-0.

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