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Blue Jays rally past Rangers in bonkers ALDS clincher

TORONTO

Jose Bautista wiped out the need for protests or umpire reviews with the Blue Jays' biggest home run since Joe Carter's historic shot. • Toronto earned its first trip to the American League Championship Series since Carter's World Series-ending drive in 1993, overcoming one of the craziest plays in playoff history when Bautista hit a three-run homer after three Rangers errors for a 6-3 victory Wednesday in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series. • "It's the most emotionally charged game that I've ever played," Bautista said. • The Blue Jays became the third team to win a best-of-five series after losing the first two games at home. The 2001 Yankees also did it against the A's, and the 2012 Giants did it against the Reds. Both of those teams went on to reach the World Series.

"The odds were against us, but I don't think these guys ever thought we were out of it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Toronto plays at Kansas City in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.

Bautista's homer capped a 53-minute seventh inning that took a turn when Toronto catcher Russell Martin's seemingly routine throw to the pitcher deflected off hitter Shin-Soo Choo's bat and let in the tiebreaking run.

"That was crazy," Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman said. "With all that happened, we did a good job of keeping our emotions in check."

The Jays filed a protest after an umpire review ruled Rougned Odor, who was on third, was allowed to cross home. Toronto fans pelted the field with debris during the 18-minute delay.

The Rangers started the bottom half by making errors on three straight ground balls, and Toronto rallied. Benches cleared twice in the Blue Jays' half.

After Edwin Encarnacion tied it at 2 with a second-deck drive off Cole Hamels in the sixth, Odor led off the seventh with a single and went to third on a sacrifice and groundout.

With Choo up, Martin's throw back to reliever Aaron Sanchez deflected off Choo's bat and dribbled toward third base as an alert Odor raced home.

Plate umpire Dale Scott ruled it a dead ball but, after Rangers manager Jeff Banister questioned the call, the umpires huddled and Odor was sent home. Martin was given an error.

"I just caught the ball and threw it back very casually and it hit his bat, and then next thing you know a run scores," Martin said. "It's never happened in my life before. It's just one of those moments, and it created an opportunity for us to do something special."

Scott acknowledged making a mistake initially. "I was mixing up two rules," he said. "If there's no intent, if he's not out of the box, that throw is live."

Fans littered the field with objects as umpires sorted out a play that is certain to rank with Derek Jeter's Jeffrey Maier-assisted homer in 1996 or Reggie Jackson's hip block of a throw in the 1978 World Series as one of the craziest in the postseason.

"We went in the tunnel back there (behind the dugout) to get out of the way," Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson, a former Jesuit High standout, said of the barrage.

According to Major League Baseball rule 6.03(a)(3), the batter is not to be charged with interfering with the catcher if the batter is still in the batter's box and doesn't make a movement to block or disrupt the throw.

This type of play is not subject to manager's review but Scott, the crew chief, after discussing the ruling with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, called an umpire's review. After a delay of 2 minutes, 32 seconds, the play stood and fans continued to throw objects on the field.

The Rangers made three straight errors to start the bottom half, with Martin reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Elvis Andrus to start it off.

Kevin Pillar followed with a grounder to first, but Martin was safe at second on an errant throw by Mitch Moreland.

After Dalton Pompey pinch-ran for Martin, Ryan Goins dropped a sacrifice bunt. Adrian Beltre fielded and threw to third, but Andrus dropped the ball, loading the bases for Ben Revere.

"This is the toughest moment of my career so far," Andrus said. "I feel like I let down my team and my city."

Revere grounded into a fielder's choice, with Moreland throwing Pompey out at the plate. After Dyson relieved Hamels, Donaldson tied it at 3 with a flare just beyond the reach of Odor at second, but Revere was forced out.

Bautista followed with a drive into the second deck, glaring at Dyson then enthusiastically flipping his bat away.

"He's been known to hit dramatic home runs, and there ain't a better time," Gibbons said.

Blue Jays rally past Rangers in bonkers ALDS clincher 10/14/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 11:17pm]
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