It is amazing how the big game can bring out the best in some players. Last night the Blue Jays could have went down without a battle as the Texas Rangers rolled over them to complete the 3 game sweep and win the ALDS. The Blue Jays had a different idea though and were not going to go down without a fight. As many people predicted the Jays offense would not be held down for long and they finally broke out last night. The Texas heat thawed the Blue Jay bats as they went on to a 5-1 victory.
Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in game three of the ALDS at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
They Blue Jays were led by the resilient Marco Estrada. Estrada pitched a solid 6.1 innings and looked un-hittable at times. That has been the story for Estrada all season as his emergence as a great starting pitcher has taken center stage. Estrada has thrown 2 game in which he threw 8 innings of no hit ball this season. Last night he did not allow a hit until the bottom of the 3rd inning in which Hanser Alberto unleashed a hard line drive over Kevin Pillar in center for a ground rule double. Estrada would allow 5 hits and struck out 4 during his outing and did not allow any free passes. Marco Estrada continues to show that he might be one of the most underrated acquisitions in the past offseason. I am sure glad to have him on our squad and he has certainly helped right the ship after the pitching staff struggled the first two games of the series.
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Estrada could not win this thing by himself however and the offense was there to help. The Blue Jays had no problem getting base runners on against the Rangers Sunday evening but they were having a problem getting them around. They were able to get the lead off hitter on 3 innings in a row and seemed to be scrapping the bottom of the barrel for runs. With as many base runners as they had it should have been easy pickings to get a few more runs. Through the early innings the Jays were able to claw a couple runs together to get off to an early 2-0 lead. In that time they had hit into 4 rally killing double plays. The Jays would go onto bat 2-8 with runners in scoring position. This could have been a rather different game if the Rangers were not able to turn those double plays to put out the fire that the Jays started.
Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrates with third base coach Luis Rivera (4) after hitting a three-run home run against the Texas Rangers in the 6th inning in game three of the ALDS at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Enter Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo had an incredible evening and picked up this offense that was stuck in first gear and put the petal to the metal. Tulo drove in the 2nd run of the game by drawing a walk from Martin Perez with the bases loaded. Tulo would come up again in the 6th inning and was looking to help his team as runners occupied second and third. With a 3-2 count and 2 outs Tulo hit a shot that made ever Jays fan jump out of their seat. Tulo crushed a Chi Chi Gonzalez pitch over the left field wall on a line and pumped his fist as he rounded first base. His teammates on the bases and in the dugout jumped for joy from the excitement. This would prove to be final blow the Jays needed to cap of the win.
Things were going okay last night until the Tulo homerun but that very well might be the turning point of this series. After the homerun the stadium in Texas went silent. Even when the Rangers scored their first run in the 7th it did not seem as loud in the ballpark as it did prior to the home run. This was a clear momentum shift and reminded me of the Roberto Alomar home run off of Dennis Eckersley in 1992. The Tulo home run not only was his biggest hit as a Blue Jay but maybe the biggest hit of the 2015 season. Lets hope the team rides this win to glory as they have the talent to come up big and win in the clutch. This team has been getting contributions from everywhere on the roster but last night it was Tulo’s night to shine.