Sunday’s MLB playoff results: Walk-off win sends Blue Jays to American League Championship Series

Published 11:05 pm Sunday, October 9, 2016

Associated Press

TORONTO — Josh Donaldson raced home from second base after Rougned Odor bounced a double-play relay in the 10th inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 7-6 to sweep their AL Division Series on Sunday night.

Donaldson, the reigning AL MVP, led off the 10th with a double into the right-center field gap, and then Matt Bush intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion.

After Jose Bautista struck out, Russell Martin hit a grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus, and Andrus tried to start a double play with a feed to second baseman Odor. Odor short-hopped his throw to first baseman Mitch Moreland and the ball skipped away, allowing Donaldson to dash home and beat Moreland’s throw with a dive across the plate.

The wild-card Blue Jays are headed back to the AL Championship Series after beating Texas in an ALDS for a second straight year and will face the winner of the Cleveland-Boston series. The Indians lead 2-0, with Game 3 scheduled for Monday following a postponement Sunday.

Toronto’s bench emptied and swarmed around Donaldson near home plate, while Bush kneeled in the infield and watched the celebration. The umpires huddled to review the play at second base, but after a brief delay, the crowd of 49,555 went wild when crew chief Joe West signaled the run counted.

Bautista’s homer and emphatic bat flip in Game 5 was the lasting image from Toronto’s ALDS win over the Rangers last season. On May 15, Odor famously punched Bautista to spark a brawl in Texas, and the broadcast of Sunday’s game showed a fan-made sign declaring “would rather get punched in May than get knocked out in October.”

Donaldson had two doubles among his three hits and is batting .538 through four postseason games, all wins for the Blue Jays, who had to beat Baltimore in a wild-card game to get to the ALDS.

Bush had thrown two scoreless innings in relief prior to beginning the 10th.

Closer Roberto Osuna threw two perfect innings to get the win. His appearance capped 4 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball by Toronto’s bullpen after starter Aaron Sanchez allowed six runs.

Encarnacion had a two-run homer and Martin a solo shot in the first inning for Toronto.

Elvis Andrus hit a solo homer in the third, the first home run of the series for the Rangers, and Odor added a two-run shot in the fourth.

Moreland gave Texas a 6-5 lead with a two-run double off Joe Biagini in the sixth, but Toronto responded in the bottom half when Troy Tulowitzki scored on Jonathan Lucroy’s bases-loaded passed ball.

Colby Lewis allowed five runs in two innings for Texas.

Texas has lost six straight postseason games, all to Toronto. Texas hadn’t lost on a game-ending play since June 30 against the Yankees.

Nationals 5, Dodgers 2

WASHINGTON — Leave it to little-used, light-hitting Jose Lobaton to change the complexion of the Washington Nationals’ NL Division Series with one big swing.

Getting a rare chance to play because of starting catcher Wilson Ramos’ late-September injury, backup Lobaton hit a three-run homer through a strong wind to erase an early deficit. Daniel Murphy provided more-expected production with two RBIs, and Washington’s bullpen threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings, leading the Nationals past the Los Angeles Dodgers in a rain-postponed Game 2 to even the series at 1-all.

“I’ve got to try to do something for the team,” said Lobaton, who had one hit off a left-handed pitcher all season before connecting with a curveball that stayed up from LA lefty Rich Hill with two outs in the fourth inning.

“And I’m not saying that I’m going to be like Willy and hit a homer and hit .300. Play hard every day, no matter who is in and who is not,” he said.

After dropping Game 1, the Nationals trailed 2-0 when Hill allowed No. 8 hitter Lobaton to put the hosts ahead for good.

“One bad pitch to a guy that I don’t think anybody really thought was going to be that guy to hurt us,” said Josh Reddick, who drove in a run for LA in the third off Tanner Roark after Corey Seager hit his second first-inning homer of the NLDS. “But that’s what happens, and anybody can be the guy in the postseason.”

Hard to imagine Lobaton would be The Guy, though.

Didn’t even start the playoff opener, sitting behind rookie Pedro Severino, who had played all of 18 games in the majors.

Plus, Lobaton batted only .232 in 99 at-bats in 2016 overall, although his lone hit in 15 at-bats against left-handers coming into Sunday was also a homer, and also against the Dodgers — off Scott Kazmir in July.