ARLINGTON, Texas — Rougned Odor was struggling so badly a month into this season that the Rangers sent him back to the minors.
Now the 21-year-old second baseman is a big reason Texas returned home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five AL Division Series against the Blue Jays.
Aggressive on the bases, Odor scored twice in Game 2 with two nifty slides into the plate — one on a shallow sacrifice fly and the other for the tiebreaking run in the 14th inning of their 6-4 win.
"Right now, he's in a position that he feels good, and he feels his confidence level is high and he can do whatever," SS Elvis Andrus said Saturday.
Sort of like Andrus, then 22, was in 2010 when the Rangers also had a 2-0 ALDS lead and were on the way to their first World Series. Andrus is now Texas' longest-tenured position player.
Game 3 is tonight in Texas.
"We need a big outburst with the bats, score a lot of runs," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We score in bunches. That's kind of our trademark. … Hopefully we can do it one time, you know, catch our breath a little bit and gain a little confidence, maybe we can hang in this thing."
HOME COOKING: LHP Dallas Keuchel has been asked why he pitches so well at home so many times that when asked again, Houston's ace had a little fun with the answer.
"Maybe it's the temperature," he said of the A/C in the park with the retractable roof.
Keuchel went 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA at Minute Maid Park this season, the best such mark in modern history. Today, he'll start there to try to give the Astros a 2-1 lead in the AL Division Series against Kansas City.
"He's just good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I mean, he's just good. But you look at his home and away record, there's quite a big difference in that. But … he just pitches good here. And sometimes there's just no reason for it."
BELTRE GETS BREAK: Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre stayed home, resting his strained lower back and taking medications. The team still was not sure if he would be back in the lineup tonight. Beltre strained his back sliding into second base Thursday.
JAYS LOSE RELIEVER: The season is over for Blue Jays LH reliever Brett Cecil, who has a torn left calf muscle and was replaced on the postseason roster. Rookie RHP Ryan Tepera was added to the roster.
THINK OF THE CHILDREN: Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright isn't thrilled that his three young daughters are being constantly exposed to ads for erectile dysfunction during postseason broadcasts. Wainwright tweeted out his dismay: "@MLBONFOX @MLB I shouldn't have to turn the channel every single comm break because of erectile disfunction ads. Millions of kids watching."
LOCKED IN: Cubs closer Hector Rondon got stuck in the bullpen bathroom for several minutes after Friday's NLDS game. Joe Walsh, St. Louis' director of stadium operations, said the lock malfunctioned.