Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

Walkoff win puts Jays in ALDS

TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning off Ubaldo Jimenez, and Blue Jays beat the Orioles 5-2 in Tuesday night's AL wild-card game to advance to a Division Series matchup against Texas.

Jimenez relieved Brian Duensing with one out in the 11th, and Devon Travis singled on a 1-and-1 pitch. Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson singled on the next pitch, and Travis went all the way to third as leftfielder Nolan Reimold bobbled the ball.

Encarnacion sent the next pitch, a 91 mph fastball, soaring into the second deck in left. Encarnacion immediately knew it was gone and raised both arms in triumph, index fingers pointed skyward.

Francisco Liriano retired five straight batters on four groundouts and a strikeout for the win after closer Roberto Osuna left with an injury.

Orioles closer Zach Britton, who was perfect in 47 save chances during the regular season, never got in the game as Orioles manager Buck Showalter saved him in case Baltimore took a lead in extra innings on the road.

After the game, Showalter shut down speculation that Britton might have been hurt. "He was fine, he was available," he said.

Toronto opens the Division Series at Texas on Thursday. Last year, the Blue Jays beat the Rangers in five-game ALDS, sparked by Jose Bautista's memorable bat flip after a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 5. The teams brawled in May this year when Bautista was punched in the face by Rangers infielder Rougned Odor following a play at second base.

The roof was open at Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome, where all 24 previous postseason games had been played with it closed.

Jose Bautista led off the second against Chris Tillman with his fifth postseason homer. Mark Trumbo, who led the major leagues with 47 home runs, gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer off Marcus Stroman.

Ezequiel Carrera's RBI single chased Tillman in the fifth.

A fan threw what appeared to be a partially filled beer can at Orioles leftfielder Hyun Soo Kim in the seventh. With the score tied at 2, pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. flied out to the track in left. Kim made the catch despite the can narrowly missing him.

GOMES MAY RETURN: Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who broke his right hand during a minor-league rehabilitation appearance late in the season, has progressed to the point that Cleveland may include him in its postseason roster for its series against the Red Sox that begins Friday.

CUBS TURN TO LESTER: Left-hander Jon Lester will start Chicago's playoff opener Friday against the Mets or Giants.

Around the majors

TEBOW TO AFL: Tim Tebow will test his baseball skills against some of the game's premier prospects. The Mets announced they are sending Tebow to the Arizona Fall League after cutting short their instructional league with Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida. Tebow, the former NFL quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner at Florida, is scheduled to report Sunday and play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

ROSTER EXPANSION: Commissioner Rob Manfred said he supports changing the rule that expands active rosters from 25 to 40 each Sept. 1. Managers have expressed concern that the rule changes late in the season, allowing multiple pitching changes for right-lefty matchups.

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