Behind a two-run home run by Robinson Chirinos and some clutch hitting by Adrian Beltre, Delino DeShields Jr. and Rougned Odor, the Texas Rangers showed little problem batting against star pitcher David Price on Thursday, holding off the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in the opening game of the American League Division Series, 5-3.
Pitching on 11 days of rest, Price was roughed up for all five runs, and didn't demonstrate the same presence he had shown over the past two months when the Blue Jays acquired him at the trade deadline. In five September starts, Price had a 2.32 earned-run average. In the postseason, Price has an all-time record of 1-6 and a 4.79 ERA.
To add to the Blue Jays' woes, star third baseman Josh Donaldson took a knee to the head during a slide at second base and was removed in the fifth inning as a "precaution." Blue Jays manager John Gibbons replaced Donaldson with Ezequiel Carrera. Meanwhile, Jose Bautista left with a sore right hamstring in the eighth inning, but the injury is not considered serious.
The Rangers also were dealt a blow at third base, as Beltre left the game after just one at-bat with stiffness in his lower back. In the third inning, Beltre singled home DeShields, who had previously drove in Odor, and would leave the game after sliding into second base following a grounder from Prince Fielder.
Texas only had five hits, but none were bigger than Chirinos' two-run blast, which would provide the difference in the win. The 31-year-old ripped a 393-foot shot over the centerfield wall in the fifth inning to put the Rangers up, 4-1. Odor would later follow with a solo blast in the top of the seventh, after the Blue Jays scored runs in the fifth and sixth.
Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. After Bautista homered off Keone Kela in the sixth, relievers Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson combined to shut out the Blue Jays over the final three innings.
Game 2 is on Friday from Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays will have Marcus Stroman on the mound, while the Rangers go with Cole Hamels.