TORONTO — Hip-hop music blared over the loudspeakers in an eerily empty, moodily lit Rogers Centre as Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays went through an easy workout on an off day in the American League Championship Series.
With their backs against the wall again, there's no place they'd rather be.
"We're down 2-0 right now, we've got three games at home. These guys here, they're comfortable and we've definitely got the crowd behind us," outfielder Ben Revere said Sunday. "We definitely feel much more comfortable being back at home."
After the defending AL champion Royals took the first two games at home, Game 3 is in Toronto at 8:07 tonight.
"This series is not over, not even close," Royals centerfielder Lorenzo Cain said after testing the bounce of the turf and the glare of the light in the closed-roofed stadium.
The Blue Jays advanced to the ALCS with a win that featured one of the most bizarre innings in postseason history. Bautista capped that seventh inning with a monster home run and an equally big bat toss.
That was the last long ball the top slugging team in baseball this year has hit.
Toronto hit 123 of its 232 homers this season at home. It then slugged its way to three straight wins over the Rangers after losing the first two at home in the ALDS.
In the chilly air of Kansas City, the Blue Jays scored three runs and never went deep.
Now, they are more than ready to play in front of another raucous crowd that has filled their ballpark.
No more deep alleys of Kauffman Stadium where their drives died. No more unfriendly fans who played tricks with Ryan Goins on the flyball that changed the tenor of Game 2, setting off a five-run rally that led to the Royals' 6-3 come-from-behind win.
"Kansas City's park is really big," Revere said. "Some of the balls we were hitting there, they were going nowhere. Now we're back home, some of those balls that were crushed are going to go over the heads or go in the gaps more."