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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.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.