TORONTO -- The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays each won 89 games this season to finish tied for second in the American League East and earn the two wild-card slots. They also played each other 19 times, with Toronto winning 10 of the games and Baltimore the other nine.
So it was not surprising that their wild-card game Tuesday night would be close, going extra innings before Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th off Ubaldo Jimenez to win it 5-2 for Toronto.
As tight as the game was until then, the interesting part was what happened with the team's two closers.
Toronto's Roberto Osuna, who saved 34 games during the season, left the game in the 10th inning with an apparent injury issue after the trainer came out to see him on the mound. Meanwhile, Baltimore's dominant closer, Zach Britton, did not pitch at all.
Britton had 47 saves with a 0.54 ERA this year while giving up just 38 hits in 67 innings, but the Orioles did not use him. He warmed up in the ninth inning but did not come into the game then or later. With one out in the 11th and the top of Toronto's order coming up, Showalter went with Jimenez, who had a 5.44 ERA this season. Jimenez gave up two singles and the game-winning home run to Encarnacion.
The Blue Jays go on to face Texas in the division series beginning Thursday (4:38 p.m. ET on TBS). The Orioles go home to watch the rest of the postseason on TV.
Toronto starter Marcus Stroman was 0-5 in six September starts, but that was due more to a lack of run support than his pitching. He had a 3.41 ERA in those six starts, roughly a run lower than his season mark, but the Blue Jays scored just eight runs behind him and were shut out three times. He threw six solid innings Tuesday, allowing two runs -- on Mark Trumbo's fourth-inning home run -- and striking out six. He left with the score tied 2-2.
Baltimore was 4-0 in Chris Tillman's four starts against the Blue Jays this season, but he didn't get out of the fifth inning. Baltimore's bullpen has been very good this season, and the Orioles showed that when Mychal Givens took over for Tillman with one out in the fifth and runners at the corners. One pitch later, the Orioles were out of the jam with a 5-4-3 double play.
The game settled down to a scoreless affair that went into extra innings. Perhaps it would have gone scoreless longer if Britton had been on the mound.