Toronto 5, Baltimore 2
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Umpires: Home – Gary Cederstrom, 1B – Ted Barrett, 2B – Eric Cooper, 3B – Bill Welke
TORONTO — (Wire Service Report) – Edwin Encarnacion is not ready to walk away from the Toronto Blue Jays yet, but he was only too happy to walk off.
The Toronto Blue Jays first baseman, who can become a free agent in the offseason, blasted the first pitch he saw from Ubaldo Jimenez in the bottom of the 11th inning Tuesday night to left field for a three-run homer and a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League wild-card game.
The Blue Jays will open the American League Division Series on Thursday against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
“I had a good feeling all through the game even,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It’s a close ballgame. If they win that game, they deserve it, too. It was such a well-played game on both sides. could have gone either way. … Eddie came through for us.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter never went to his closer, Zach Britton, in the game.
“He was fine,” Showalter said, admitting he considered using Britton who had a 0.54 ERA during the season “Yeah, I considered a lot of things during the course of the game. But our guys did a good job getting us to that point. We just couldn’t finish it off. Yeah, he was available.”
Britton said, “It’s frustrating to have to sit. I was good to go. But Ubie (Jimenez) has had success here.”
Showalter added, “There’s so many things going on. You can use Zach Britton in the seventh, the eighth and not have anybody to pitch the last inning. So there’s a lot of risk taken every inning, every pitch. You take that one when you get in this format.”
Baltimore left-hander Brian Duensing struck out Ezequiel Carrera to open the bottom of the 11th. Duensing was then replaced by the right-hander, Jimenez (0-1), who gave up singles to Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson that put runners at the corners.
Encarnacion then ended the game with the first-pitch home run.
“I was looking for a fastball and trying to get the barrel on it,” Encarnacion said. “Get a little bit in front because the infield was playing in. And I actually got it.”
Jose Bautista also homered for Toronto, a solo shot in the second against Baltimore starter Chris Tillman.
Tillman allowed four hits, one walk and two runs and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect top of the ninth before Donaldson led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left against Brad Brach.
Encarnacion was walked intentionally. Bautista struck out. Darren O’Day replaced Brach, and Russell Martin grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Osuna retired Chris Davis on a fly ball to right to open the 10th before leaving with what Gibbons said was tightness in his shoulder.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Gibbons said. “The smart thing was just get him out of there.”
Left-hander Francisco Liriano (1-0) took over from Osuna and retired the final two batters of the 10th and also worked a perfect 11th for the win.
After Stroman retired the first six batters, Bautista led off the bottom of the second with his fifth career postseason home run, drilling a 3-1 fastball to left field. It gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Adam Jones led off the fourth with a single to right to give the Orioles their first baserunner. Jones took second when Hyun Soo Kim grounded out to first, but he had to hold at second when center fielder Kevin Pillar made a diving catch on Manny Machado’s drive into the gap in right center.
Trumbo put the Orioles into a 2-1 lead when he homered to left on a first-pitch fastball.
Tillman retired eight consecutive batters after the home run before walking Bautista with two outs in the fourth. Martin grounded out to second to end the inning.
Michael Saunders doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Pillar followed with a double to right that Michael Bourn just missed tracking down. Saunders had to make sure the ball dropped, and as a result, he only made third.
Carrera tied the game 2-2 with a single to center. Mychal Givens replaced Tillman with runners at the corners and one out. Givens’ first pitch resulted in a 5-4-3 double play grounder from Devon Travis.
“There was no tomorrow,” Carrera said. “So we knew we needed to win this game. It was something pretty special.”
NOTES: The Orioles appeared in the American League wild-card game for the second time. They defeated the Texas Rangers in 2012. It was the first appearance in the wild-card game for the Blue Jays. … Toronto led the American League in regular-season attendance, averaging 41,878 for a total of 3,392,099 — the fifth-highest total in franchise history and the seventh-highest average. … Toronto RHP Aaron Sanchez led the AL in earned-run average at 3.00, and the Blue Jays became the first team in major league history to lead the league in starters’ innings without a complete game. … Orioles LHP Zach Britton finished the regular season 47-for-47 in save opportunities. His 0.54 ERA (four earned runs in 67 innings) was the lowest in major league history among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched — but he never got into the wild-card game.