Bill Baer

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 06:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with his teammates after scoring a run off of Troy Tulowitzki #2 RBI triple to right field against Cole Hamels #35 of the Texas Rangers during the third inning in game one of the American League Divison Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 6, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Blue Jays open up ALDS with 10-1 win against the Rangers


After two nailbiters in both leagues’ Wild Card games, we finally have a blowout. The Blue Jays had no trouble taking care of the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS with a 10-1 victory on Thursday afternoon.

Rangers starter Cole Hamels unraveled in the third inning as the Blue Jays scored five runs. Ezequiel Carrera drew a one-out walk to kick things off. Hamels got Devon Travis to pop up, appearing to see his way out of danger. However, he uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Carrera to move to second. Josh Donaldson then smoked a line drive that glanced off of the glove of third baseman Adrian Beltre. Carrera scored easily for the first run of the game and Donaldson hustled into second base. The tag play at the second base bag was reviewed but the initial ruling — that Donaldson was safe — was upheld.

Hamels couldn’t regain his composure. Edwin Encarnacion hit a line drive back to Hamels but the lefty couldn’t snare it. Instead, it rolled to Elvis Andrus at shortstop, moving Donaldson to third. Jose Bautista then singled to center field, bringing Donaldson home for the Jays’ second run. Russell Martin walked to load the bases. Troy Tulowitzki unloaded the bases with a triple to right-center, pushing the Jays’ lead to 5-0. The ball appeared to be catchable, but center fielder Ian Desmond slowed up approaching the wall, allowing the ball to drop.

In the next inning, Melvin Upton, Jr. led off with a solo home run. Shortly thereafter, with one out, Elvis Andrus made a throwing error on what should have been an easy 6-3 ground out by Devon Travis. Hamels threw a fastball that catcher Jonathan Lucroy couldn’t corral, so Travis advanced to second base. Donaldson dunked a single to right field, bringing Travis home to make it a 7-0 game.

Alex Claudio and Tony Barnette threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Hamels. However, Bautista made it a laugher in the top of the ninth, sending a no-doubt three-run home run to left field off of lefty reliever Jake Diekman. That pushed the score to 10-0.

All the while, Jays starter Marco Estrada was pitching a fantastic game. The Rangers mustered very little offense against him over the first eight innings — just three singles. In the top of the ninth, Andrus led off with a triple to deep left-center. He would score on a ground out by Shin-Soo Choo. Estrada gave way to Ryan Tepera, who got Carlos Gomez to ground out and Desmond to fly out to end the game. Estrada’s final line: 8 1/3 innings, four hits, one earned run, no walks, six strikeouts on 98 pitches.

Estrada has quietly established quite the postseason resume. Now with four starts (all with the Jays) and relief appearances (all with the Brewers) under his belt, the right-hander has a career 2.67 ERA with a 30/3 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings in the playoffs.

Game 2 of the ALDS will continue on Friday at 1:00 PM EDT as the Rangers host the Jays again. J.A. Happ will take on Yu Darvish.

Kim Ng among candidates for Diamondbacks’ vacant GM position

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Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that Kim Ng is one of five candidates currently in consideration for the vacant general manager position in the Diamondbacks’ front office. Former GM Dave Stewart was fired earlier this week along with manager Chip Hale.

Ng has been considered as GM on several occasions in the past. In 2005, she interviewed with the Dodgers but the organization chose to go with Ned Colletti instead. She has also been considered by the Mariners, Padres, and Angels.

Ng is currently the senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball. Her resume is quite impressive even leading up to her current position. She started as an intern with the White Sox, then was hired full-time to serve as the assistant director of baseball operations under Ron Schueler who was the club’s GM in 1995. She moved on to work for the American League as the director of waivers and records. GM Brian Cashman brought her to the Yankees in 1998 as the assistant GM. Three years later, she moved to the Dodgers as vice president and assistant GM.

Cafardo notes that Bryan Minniti (D-Backs’ assistant GM), Mike Bell (D-Backs’ director of player development), Ray Montgomery (Brewers scouting director), and Peter Woodfork (senior VP of baseball operations for MLB) are other candidates in consideration.

Video: Conor Gillaspie’s game-winning three-run home run

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05:  Conor Gillaspie #21 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three-run homerun in the ninth inning against the New York Mets during their National League Wild Card game at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

We’re only two games into the 2016 postseason but we already have two memorable three-run home runs. Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit the first on Tuesday night, a walk-off three-run shot against Ubaldo Jimenez to send the Jays to the ALDS against the Rangers.

Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie laid claim to the second, breaking a scoreless tie with a three-run home run off of Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the top of the ninth inning at Citi Field. Familia threw a 1-1, belt-high sinker that Gillaspie did not miss.

As Daryl Van Schouwen reports, Giants starter Bumgarner said to Gillaspie in the dugout after the homer, “Conor, appreciate the hell out of that.”