TORONTO — Blue Jays pitcher LaTroy Hawkins had completed his second season in the minor leagues when Hanser Alberto was born in San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. He made his big-league debut in 1995, when Alberto was 2.
Friday afternoon in Rogers Centre, the 42-year-old Hawkins, who has played 21 seasons for 11 big-league teams and has never won a World Series, gave up a tie-breaking single in the 14th inning to the 22-year-old rookie Alberto, the last of three consecutive two-out hits the Texas Rangers delivered off Toronto’s seventh pitcher of the afternoon.
An infield hit by Delino DeShields off Liam Hendriks, the Blue Jays’ eighth pitcher, scored Chris Gimenez with an insurance run in a 6-4 Texas victory that gave the Rangers a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five American League Division Series, which shifts to Texas for Game 3 on Sunday.
The Rangers won without star third baseman Adrian Beltre, out with a strained back. Alberto, a shortstop by trade, was playing in his place.
The Jays lost even with Josh Donaldson, who homered in his first at-bat Friday after leaving Game 1 after taking a knee to the head, then was involved in a dust-up with Rangers reliever Keone Kela, who exchanged words with Donaldson after the Jays third baseman hit a long foul ball in the 13th.
Hawkins, who came to the Jays as the “other player” in the trade-deadline deal for Troy Tulowitzki, has said he intends to retire after this season. But this surely falls short of his idea of riding off into the sunset.
Five Texas relievers held the Jays to one hit in the game’s final seven innings. Ross Ohlendorf struck out the side to end it.
Thumbs up: Jays first baseman Chris Colabello, who played seven seasons of independent league ball before making it to the big leagues at age 29 with the Minnesota Twins, executed an unassisted double play in the first inning that pulled the Jays out of an early funk. With two Texas runs already in and Prince Fielder on third base with one out, Colabello fielded Josh Hamilton’s ground ball, tagged him at the bag, then sprinted across the diamond to tag Fielder, who was caught in no-man’s land. In the home second, Colabello lined an opposite-field, ground-rule double that hopped over the right-field fence, the catalyst to a two-run, game-tying rally.
Jays starter Marcus Stroman survived some ugly play behind him early to retire 18 of the last 21 batters he faced, leaving after DeShields’ single to lead off the eighth. Stroman allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five. One of the four runs scored against him was unearned.
Thumbs down: The Jays played like a bundle of nerves at the outset. Right-fielder Jose Bautista had a line drive by DeShields in the pocket of his glove to lead off the game, but could not hold on when he collided with the fence. DeShields was credited with a double. After the next Texas hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, singled home DeShields, Fielder singled off the glove of second baseman Ryan Goins, who was unable to backhand the ball, Choo taking third. Mitch Moreland grounded to Colabello, with Choo caught in a rundown, but catcher Russell Martin threw wildly to third and Choo scored.
In the second inning, Stroman walked Rougned Odor on four pitches. Odor went first to third on a high chopper to the middle of the diamond, and Odor scored on a headfirst slide into the plate, just ahead of center-fielder Kevin Pillar’s throw, on Alberto’s sacrifice fly.
In the eighth inning, Jays manager John Gibbons, with a base open, had the option of walking pinch-hitter Mike Napoli, who had entered the game to hit against left-handed reliever Brett Cecil. Gibbons made the decision to pitch to Napoli, who was 2-for-17 with seven strikeouts in his career against Cecil. Napoli shot a run-scoring single into center field, tying the game.
What’s next: The teams travel to Texas, work out Saturday at the Ballpark in Arlington, and are scheduled to meet in Game 3 on Sunday. Left-hander Martin Perez is scheduled to pitch for the Rangers; right-hander Marco Estrada is scheduled to pitch for the Jays.