(The Sports Xchange) - The Toronto Blue Jays stayed alive in the postseason by relying on the long ball and their two Cy Young Award winners on Monday.
That’s not a bad recipe for success.
Toronto clubbed three home runs -- all in the first two innings -- to back pitchers R.A. Dickey and David Price, beating the Texas Rangers 8-4 and even the American League Division Series at two games apiece.
The deciding Game Five will be played on Wednesday in Toronto. Neither team has won a home game in this series.
The Blue Jays led all of the majors with 232 home runs during the regular season. After two losses in Toronto, the Jays rediscovered their power stroke in Texas.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki broke open Game Three with a three-run homer on Sunday night in Toronto‘s’ 5-1 victory. On Monday, third baseman Josh Donaldson, first baseman Chris Colabello and center fielder Kevin Pillar each went deep with Toronto’s season hanging in the balance for the second consecutive game.
Pillar (3-for-4) finished with three RBIs, while Donaldson and Colabello each drove in two runs. Toronto racked up 12 hits.
The offense only told part of the story. The Blue Jays’ pitching staff gave up only five runs in the two games at Globe Life Park. Dickey and Price, both Cy Young Award winners in 2012 in opposite leagues, did the heavy lifting in Game Four.
Dickey made his first career postseason appearance a memorable one, even if he did not qualify for the win. The 40-year-old knuckleballer allowed only one run, but he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning for Game One starter Price.
“I was surprised,” said Dickey. “I don’t think there is a competitor out there that would or should be happy about coming out of that baseball game, but at the same time it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit. It’s great to have a guy like David to come in behind me.”
Price got the next nine outs, working into the eighth, to pick up the victory despite allowing three runs.
“I told them I would be ready for whatever situation they wanted me in,” Price said after his first relief appearance since 2010. “That was the mind-set I brought to the field, just be ready at any point in the game. That’s what I did.”
The move to Price opened many eyes, especially with Toronto up 7-1, but Toronto manager John Gibbons wanted to eliminate any doubt.
“One of the things I’ve learned over the years, sometimes the best way to win a game is don’t let a team get back into it,” he said. “It’s our first go-around in this kind of game, but we know what kind of offense they have.”
With Price out of the mix for the start Wednesday, Gibbons will turn to right-hander Marcus Stroman in Game Five. Texas figures to counter with ace left-hander Cole Hamels, the Game Two starter.
“Even though we lost the last two games, we’re still confident,” said Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, a surprise starter after missing the last two games. “We know we have the team to do it. We’ve beat them there twice, why can’t we do it again?”
Editing by Andrew Both/Mark Lamport-Stokes