Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning off Ubaldo Jimenez, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in Tuesday night’s American League wild-card game to advance to an AL Division Series matchup against Texas.
TORONTO – Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning off Ubaldo Jimenez, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in Tuesday night’s American League wild-card game to advance to an AL Division Series matchup against Texas.
Jimenez relieved Brian Duensing with one out in the 11th, and Devon Travis singled. Reigning league MVP Josh Donaldson singled on the next pitch, and Travis went to third as left fielder Nolan Reimold bobbled the ball.
With the infield in, Encarnacion sent the next pitch soaring into the second deck in left. He immediately knew it was gone and raised both arms in triumph, index fingers pointed skyward.
Wednesday: Giants at Mets
Thursday: Blue Jays at Rangers, Game 1
Thursday: Red Sox at Indians, Game 1
Friday: NL wild-card winner at Cubs, Game 1
Friday: Dodgers at Nationals, Game 1
“I was looking for a fastball and I was trying to put the barrel on it, get a little bit in front because the infield was playing in, and I actually got it,” Encarnacion said through a translator.
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Baltimore used seven of its 10 pitchers but closer Zach Britton, who was perfect in 47 save chances with a 0.54 earned-run average during the regular season, never got in the game.
“Nobody has been pitching better for us than Ubaldo,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “It didn’t work out.”
Britton warmed up three times.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s not my call,” Britton said. “It was just frustrating to have to sit there and watch.”
Toronto opens the ALDS at Texas on Thursday. Last year, the Blue Jays beat the Rangers in the five-game Division Series, sparked by Jose Bautista’s memorable bat flip after a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 5. The teams brawled in May this year when Bautista was punched in the face by Rangers infielder Rougned Odor after a play at second base.
“It’s going to be a very interesting series and we’re looking forward to it,” Encarnacion said.
Francisco Liriano retired five straight batters on four groundouts and a strikeout for the win after closer Roberto Osuna left with a sore shoulder.
“The doctor told me that I was going to be fine, I just need a couple of days,” Osuna said. “I’ve been pitching a lot lately. They think it’s just fatigue from the last couple of weeks.”
The roof was open at Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome, where all 24 previous postseason games had been played with it closed.
Bautista led off the second against Chris Tillman with his fifth postseason homer.
Former Mariner Mark Trumbo, who led the major leagues with 47 home runs, gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a two-run shot off Marcus Stroman.
Ezequiel Carrera’s RBI single chased Tillman in the fifth.
When Toronto pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. flied out to the warning track in left field to end the seventh, Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim was nearly struck by a can that was thrown from the stands.
• Tim Tebow will test his skills against some of the game’s premier prospects.
The New York Mets announced they are sending outfielder Tebow to the Arizona Fall League after cutting short their instructional league with Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida.
The 29-year-old Tebow, a former NFL quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, is scheduled to report Sunday and play for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Opening day in the league is Tuesday.
“We want Tim to play in more games to continue developing his skills on the field while facing advanced competition,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.
• Jon Lester, a former standout at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, will start the Chicago Cubs’ playoff opener Friday at home.
The Cubs will face the winner of Wednesday’s NL wild-card game between San Francisco and the Mets in New York.
Lester (19-5) had a 2.44 earned-run average this season.