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Blue Jays win wild one in extras, advance to ALCS

Wow! Now that was a debate.

There were no questions from the Toronto crowd (which was definitely not undecided about whom they were backing) but there was plenty of back-and-forth between the Blue Jays and Rangers Sunday night. While many were busy watching the presidential debate in the United States, in Canada, Texas took an early lead in the first inning, but the Blue Jays quickly responded and went ahead, and then padded their lead with home runs. Then the Rangers crawled back and retook the lead in the sixth, only to have Toronto tie it right away.

In the end, the Blue Jays won on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the 10th inning when Rougned Odor made a wide throw to first. That allowed Josh Donaldson to score, giving the Blue Jays a 7-6 win to sweep this ALDS and giving their fans another reason to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day in Canada. As Toronto outfielder (and British Columbia native) Michael Saunders said, the turkey might taste sweeter.

The Rangers gave starter Colby Lewis a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but he couldn’t make it last for more than one out, giving up a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the first and a solo shot to Russell Martin. Lewis gave up five runs in less than three innings. Each Texas starter in the series gave up at least five runs and none made it past the fifth inning. Combined, they allowed seven home runs.

Despite leading the league in ERA and having six days of rest, Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez had trouble as well, giving up six runs in 5 2/3 innings. He’s had some control issues in his short career and he walked four batters Sunday.

Toronto entered the game with some bullpen concerns. Francisco Liriano was forced onto the seven-day DL with a mild concussion (Danny Barnes took the roster spot). Meanwhile, manager John Gibbons was not comfortable having to use closer Roberto Osuna for more than an inning again, but did so anyway. Osuna pitched two 1-2-3 innings, part of a Blue Jays bullpen that did a solid job, holding Texas scoreless.