Jose Bautista bat-flips away all-time weird inning, sends Blue Jays to ALCS

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For a moment it looked like one of the strangest plays in postseason history would lead to the Rangers advancing past the Blue Jays and into the ALCS, as Russell Martin‘s throw back to the pitcher in the seventh inning glanced off Shin-Soo Choo‘s bat, bounced away, and allowed Rougned Odor to sprint home from third base with the go-ahead run as the Rogers Centre crowd went nuts and the umpiring crew consulted replay.

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And then the Rangers forgot how to catch the ball.

Beginning the bottom of the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead, the Rangers committed a trio of errors and a fourth play in which Odor was unable to snag a soft liner that landed just past his out-stretched glove, tying the game at 3-3. Jose Bautista then stepped to the plate with two runners on base and launched a monstrous, no-doubt-about-it home run off reliever Sam Dyson that was matched only by his epic post-homer bat-flip.

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Later that half-inning benches cleared on two different occasions, as Dyson seemed equal parts confused and angry about what had taken place as the Rangers went from leading 3-2 on a controversial play to trailing 6-3 on a bunch of misplays and a Bautista bomb. The range of emotions in both halves of the seventh inning were incredible, as each side experienced the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.

That was the story of the entire series, really, as the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead by taking the first two games in Toronto and then the Blue Jays won both games in Texas before the unforgettable Game 5 back in Canada.

When the dust settled and the beer cans were cleared off the turf the Blue Jays escaped with their first playoff series victory since winning the World Series in 1993. Rookie reliever Roberto Osuna, who hadn’t even been born yet last time Toronto made the playoffs and is the youngest player in baseball at 20, closed out the 6-3 win by striking out four of the five batters he faced for a five-out save.

Exhale. Baseball is a helluva drug.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).