G1: Burgess, Donaldson, Dyson, ESPN, Gallardo, Gretzky, Price, Sportnet
By Bob Elliott
The Blue Jays finally managed to give Yovani Gallardo an earned run average.
They scored twice against Gallardo in five innings after the Texas Rangers right-hander had held the Jays scoreless in pitching 13 2/3 scoreless earlier this season on his way to two wins.
Yet, it wasn’t enough.
Make it three Gallardo wins over the most potent offence in baseball.
The Jays managed one run the rest of the way against relievers Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and ex-Jay Sam Dyson, out hitting the Rangers 6-5. The Rangers won in the total bases department (12-9) and on the scoreboard.
The Jays Mount Crushmore of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, which combined for 64 homers after the all-star break -- more than the Atlanta Braves, Miami Braves and Milwaukee Brewers -- managed one homer by Bautista, who didn’t play the ninth due to leg cramps. Bautista’s home run was the first in the playoffs by a Jays hitter since Joe Carter ended the 1993 World Series.
Encarnacion had a pair of singles and Donaldson had only two at-bats after he slid into the one-man wrecking crew named Rougned Odor.
It was Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series and it was quite unlike the first 162:
David Price could only retire the Rangers No. 8 and No. 9 hitters twice of the six times he faced them. All in all it was a different kind of Jays team people are used to seeing.
“It was a weird one,” said Justin Smoak, who gave Donaldson a post-game concussion test by holding up two fingers and asking “how many hands am I holding up?”
Smoak said Donaldson answered “one hand, two fingers.”
“We had some bad breaks,” said Brett Cecil, who pitched a scoreless eighth, “we need everyone healthy for Game 2.”
And it appears as if both Donaldson and Bautista will play Game 2.
Ben Revere put the game down to rust.
“Neither team had played in four days,” Revere said, “they found the holes, they got the key hits. Now we have to come back and win Game 2. We’ve got four more games.”
Not if the Jays lose Friday facing lefties Cole Hamels or Sunday in Arlington, Tex. against Martin Lewis in Game 3?
“Hey, we’ve won three games before,” said Revere.
The Jays possess a heavily lopsided lineup of right-handed hitters, led by Bautista, Donaldson and Encarnacion, who combined for 120 of the club’s 232 homers, most in the majors.
They’ll need offence and they’ll need Marcus Stroman to continue his dominance to avoid heading deep in the heart of Texas down 2-0 in the best-of-five series.
No Buck, No Tabby: Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler did pre and post-game shows on Sportsnet but Canadian viewers saw the FOX game feed with Kenny Albert, former Seattle Mariners second base whiz Harold Reynolds and the multi-talented Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and the MLB Network, along with Ken Rosenthal.
Sportsnet tweeted to complaining fans, who wanted their Martinez-Tabler double play combo: “We hear you, fans! Buck & Pat are part of our pre/post game. Unfortunately @Sportsnet doesn’t have rights to produce @BlueJays postseason games.
Rogers Communications owns post-season rights but Rogers chose not to show the Jays games due to production costs.
One rally, one Ranger: Dyson the ex-Jay who learned how to improve on his sinker from pitching coach Tom Signore at double-A New Hampshire set down the Jays in the ninth for his third career save. He has allowed one run in 16 1/3 innings over his previous 17 appearances ... Dyson faced one batter in his debut for the Jays July 5 against the Kansas City Royals and allowed three runs in 1/3 of an inning 12 days later against the New York Yankees ... Jayson Nix singled, Chris Stewart and Derek Jeter each doubled, Curtis Granderson singled, Mark Teixeira walked and Alex Rodriguez hit a run-scoring ground ball. And that was it for Dyson’s Jays days.
No sunshine when it’s closed: The roof of the concrete clam was closed on Thursday -- just as it has for all previous 28 post-season games. The decision to close the roof and keep it closed was initially made in 1989 leading up to the Jays AL Championship Series against the Oakland A’s. Worried that the roof of the three-month-old facility might jam while closing Dr. Bobby Brown, then the AL pres, made the decision it would remain closed for all games ... The largest post-season crowd was Game 6 of the 1993 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies when 52,268 attended. Due to re-configured seating of the Rogers Centre the sell-out crowd of 49,834 on Thursday was the smallest post-season number ever.
23-for-23: ESPN’s panel of experts -- 23 in all -- all chose the Blue Jays to beat the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. Included in the select group of 23 were Adnan Virk, who grew up in Morven, Ont. outside of Kingston, Canada’s first capital, and Montreal’s Jonah Keri.
Watching their guys: The Rogers Centre was full, packed with relatives and friends of the big leaguers on the carpet. Not one household has housed more Blue Jays than Jana and Bill Maclagan’s Oakridge neighbourhood in Vancouver. They have been billeting class-A Vancouver Canadians for the past nine years and Blue Jays farmhands for the last five ... Outfielders Dalton Pompey (2012), relievers Roberto Osuna (2012) and Aaron Sanchez (2011), and starter Marcus Stroman (2012) all were at Nat Bailey Stadium by night and headed to Maclagan’s after the game.
Pre-game: As a tribute to the late Michael (Wally) Burgess, who passed Sept. 28 after a battle with cancer, who sang O Canada before Game 1 of the 1992 World Series in Atlanta, the Jays played a taped version of Burgess’ rendition of our anthem from that night in Georgia. Burgess sang the anthem each year at induction ceremonies in St. Marys at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Burgess attended Regiopolis College in Kingston in 1962-63 ... Cito Gaston, who managed the 12 seasons including the 1992-93 World Series, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Mark Buehrle made like J.P. Arencibia and scooped the ball out of the dirt ... Former Cy Young award winner Pat Hentgen will throw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2.
Stars in the crowd: Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, like when he showed for Game 6 of the World Series in 1992 in Atlanta ... Toronto Argos Hall of Famer Michael (Pinball) Clemens, the city’s happiest, most upbeat man, wearing a No. 32 Roy Halladay jersey ... Kingston’s Don Cherry was on hand to lend insight to the pre-game show and blasted commissioner Rob Manfred for not opening the dome.
ESPN Stats and stuff: Teams that win Game 1 of a best-of-five win a series 71.6% of the time (83-33) ... At 21, Odor is youngest Ranger and youngster second baseman with a post-season homer ... Price did not hit a batter in the regular season while pitching for the Jays, but he hit Odor twice ... Price is the only pitcher in history to lose his first five career post-season starts ... Only Hall of Famer Randy Johnson with seven losses has a longer streak ... Odor was also the second youngest to score three runs in a postseason game. Only Andruw Jones in the 1996 WS was younger ... Robinson Chirinos who hit a two-run homer off Price, had one in his last 17 regular-season games.
Scout and about: John Hendricks was promoted to national pitching crosschecker by the New York Mets. He was Blue Jays area scout in the Carolina’s before resigning in 2013 after new scouting director Brian Parker made changes.
Song of the day: Peggie Lee’s Is That All There Is?
Price near top: The Game 1 loss by Price was his fourth straight to the Texas Rangers in the post-season.
Only one player has a longer losing streak against a single team in post-season history. Aaron Sele of the Texas Ranger lost five in a row to New York Yankees.
Four pitchers had four-game losing streaks to a single team:
Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox to the Oakland A’s.
Doug Drabek, Pittsburgh Pirates to the Atlanta Braves.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tom Glavine, Atlanta, to Pittsburgh.
Deepest sympathies: Doug Smith, former Toronto Sun desker, buried his father George Smith, 82, in Niagara Falls on Thursday. Smith covers the Toronto Raptors for the Toronto Star.