Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Bautista homers as Jays rout Rangers in ALDS opener

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Marco Estrada took a shutout into the ninth inning, Jose Bautista hit a long, punctuating three-run homer and the Blue Jays opened their AL Division Series rematch with a 10-1 romp over the Rangers on Thursday.

Bautista, who had an emphatic bat flip after his tiebreaking homer in the ALDS clincher last October against the Rangers and got punched the last time the Blue Jays played in Texas in May, drove in four runs. He had an RBI single in a five-run third off left-hander Cole Hamels.

"Ten runs isn't pretty," Hamels said. "Thank God this isn't a wild-card game."

Bautista added a 425-foot blast in the ninth inning, and seemed to deliberately drop the bat softly near home plate.

"I have a couple of home runs in my career and I think I've only flipped it once," Bautista said. "Just kind of been blown out of proportion because of the moment last year. So I don't think there was anything too special about laying it down the way I did, because that's the way that 99.9-plus percent of the time I do it.''

Bautista was booed heartily during pregame introductions and while he batted in the first inning. There also were chants of "Rougie! Rougie!" — those were for Rougned Odor, the second baseman who punched Bautista and ignited a bench-clearing brawl in their last meeting.

INDIANS 5, RED SOX 4: Host Cleveland hit three solo home runs in a four-batter span in the third inning to beat Boston in Game 1 of their ALDS. With a runner at first, Cody Allen ended it by striking out Dustin Pedroia on a full-count check swing, angering Pedroia. Boston's Rick Porcello allowed five runs in 41/3 innings. He had closed the season having allowed three runs or fewer in 13 straight starts.

RATINGS: Viewership was down 1.9 percent from last year for ESPN's wild-card playoff coverage but up 36 percent over the previous NL one-game knockout on the network two years ago. The Giants' 3-0 win at the Mets on Wednesday night was seen by 7.42 million viewers, down from 7.6 million for the Astros' victory over the Yankees in last year's AL wild-card game on ESPN but up from 5.6 million for the Giants' 8-0 rout of the Pirates in 2014.

BEER-THROWING arrest: The man who threw a beer can at Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim during the Blue Jays' win in Tuesday night's AL wild-card game was charged with mischief. Ken Pagan, 41, a copy editor for Postmedia, reported to a police precinct Thursday evening and was released. He is due in court in late November. In a report published by the Toronto Sun, which is owned by Postmedia, Pagan suggested police may be wrong. Pagan said he was drinking out of a cup during the game.

NATIONALS: Second baseman Daniel Murphy is expected to play tonight in the NLDS opener against the Dodgers. He hasn't started since Sept. 17 because of a strained glute muscle.

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