Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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The Blue Jays ride the longball to a 2-0 lead over Texas

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Texas made it interesting late, but the Toronto Blue Jays’ early home run barrage put the Rangers into a hole too deep to climb out of. The Jays won Game 2 of the ALDS 5-3 and now head home to Toronto with a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

Yu Darvish was supposed to restore order after the Jays pounded Cole Hamels but the Jays had different ideas. Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer in the 2nd. In the fifth the Jays hit three solo homers off of Darvish, one each from Kevin PillarEzequiel Carrera and then Edwin Encarnacion. Meanwhile, the Rangers kept gathering hits off of Toronto starter J.A. Happ but stranded runners like it was their job. They only mustered one run off of Happ via an Ian Desmond RBI single in the fourth.

The sixth, seventh and top of the eighth inning went by quietly before the Rangers mounted a mini rally in the eighth. John Gibbons called on Francisco Liriano and Liriano struggled, giving up a leadoff double to Mitch Moreland, recording an out and then walking Robinson Chirinos. That brought up Carlos Gomez who lined a ball off of Liriano’s head, scoring Moreland and knocking Liriano out of the game, bringing in closer Roberto Osuna.

Osuna induced a groundout to make it 5-3, but then struck out Carlos Beltran to end the rally. He came back in for the ninth and, a double to Adrian Beltre notwithstanding — which should’ve been caught by Melvin Upton Jr. who was a nominal defensive replacement — completed the five-out save.

So now the Jays are in the driver’s seat. They get a flight back home this evening and a day off tomorrow before taking on the Rangers in Rogers Centre, up 2-0, for Game 3.

Francisco Liriano leaves game after being hit in the head with a comebacker

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Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano was pitching to former teammate and good friend Carlos Gomez of the Rangers in the eighth inning of this afternoon’s ALDS Game 2. Gomez hit a line drive right up the middle and it smacked into the back of Liriano’s head, ricocheting into right field.

Liriano didn’t even go to the ground — he initially appeared to just brush it off like it was a tennis ball or something — but he was taken out of the game nonetheless because you simply do not mess around with 98 m.p.h. line drives to someone’s head. Closer Roberto Osuna was called into the game to get out of the jam. At the time it was 5-2 with Rangers runners on the corners and one out.

Osuna allowed one run to score after inducing a groundout but then bore down and struck out Carlos Beltran to end the Rangers ‘rally. It’s 5-2 as we head to the ninth.

The Blue Jays are bludgeoning the Rangers

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The Toronto Blue Jays took the Texas Rangers to the woodshed yesterday, beating them 10-1. They only hit two homers in that one, though. Today they have continued to roll, but it’s been all about the longball. In fact, Yu Darvish has given up four of them.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer in the 2nd. In the fifth the Jays hit three solo homers off of Darvish, one each from Kevin Pillar — who tomahawked one that was way up out of the zone — Ezequiel Carrera and then Edwin Encarnacion. Only one of those guys, Encarnacion, is a real home run threat. The others were functions of Darvish leaving meatballs out over the zone.

Meanwhile, J.A. Happ has been scuffling, allowing eight hits and a walk, but the Rangers have only been able to muster one run out of it. The game is now 5-1 Blue Jays after five. Yu Darvish is now out of the game.