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Blue Jays explode, beat Royals to get within 2-1 in ALCS

Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run homer in the third inning, Toronto’s first of the ALCS, to give the Blue Jays a 6-2 lead.

Associated Press

Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run homer in the third inning, Toronto’s first of the ALCS, to give the Blue Jays a 6-2 lead.

TORONTO — Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and the slugging Blue Jays were eager to return to their homer dome after dropping the first two games of the AL Championship Series in Kansas City.

They showed everyone why.

The Blue Jays came out swinging and their rowdy fans were singing from the start, with Tulowitzki and Donaldson connecting in a six-run third inning as Toronto roughed up Johnny Cueto and the Royals for an 11-8 victory that cut Kansas City's series lead to 2-1.

"That's really what we're all about," manager John Gibbons said. "We desperately needed that breakout."

Ryan Goins also homered and had a two-run single a game after his misplayed pop fly set off Kansas City's winning rally Sunday.

The Royals tried to come back this time, too, scoring four in the ninth before Roberto Osuna closed it out.

Despite being outhit 15-11, the Blue Jays pounced on Kansas City's pitching in the first ALCS game in Toronto since 1993 for their most runs at home in the postseason — after scoring three in two games in Kansas City.

Kansas City scored four off starter Marcus Stroman then added four in the ninth, capped by Kendrys Morales' two-run homer off Osuna.

The 49,751 fans serenaded Cueto with a sing-song "Cueto-Cueto!" chant from the first pitch and never quieted down.

The Royals took a quick lead when Alcides Escobar led off the game with a sinking liner that went under rightfielder Jose Bautista's glove for a triple off Stroman. Former Ray Ben Zobrist drove in Escobar with a grounder, but that was the only advantage Kanas City would hold in having its nine-game ALCS winning streak snapped.

Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar quashed the rally with an over-the-shoulder catch that sent him crashing into the wall.

After an easy first, Cueto appeared flustered by the crowd. Eleven of his remaining 13 batters reached, and at one point in the third inning he threw his hands up in frustration after gesturing for a new cycle of signs from catcher Salvador Perez.

Goins singled in two runs in the second after Tulowitzki singled with one out and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch that knocked off his left elbow guard. Goins pulled into second on the throw home and shouted and pumped his arms.

When Goins scored on Donaldson's hit, he was greeted first by the enthusiastic Stroman.

"He's been carrying that load around a little bit," Gibbons said of Goins' Game 2 mistake. "But he stepped up, really got us on the board with that great at-bat, picking up those two runs, base hit to left and then, of course, the home run."

Nursing a sore shoulder, Tulowitzki entered in a 4-for-29 postseason slump. But he connected for the Blue Jays' first ALCS homer after Edwin Encarnacion singled and Chris Colabello walked to start the third.

Blue Jays explode, beat Royals to get within 2-1 in ALCS 10/19/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 12:32am]
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