Blue Jays belt four homers to push Rangers to brink


The Toronto Blue Jays hit four home runs off Texas pitcher Yu Darvish in a 5-3 victory over the Rangers on Friday to move within one win of advancing in the Major League Baseball playoffs.

The Blue Jays seized a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five American League Division Series with the win in Arlington, Texas, and will try to close things out at home on Sunday.

Troy Tulowitzki, Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Edwin Encarnacion all homered for Toronto, all off the Rangers’ Japanese ace Darvish.

In Cleveland, Corey Kluber pitched seven shutout innings as the Cleveland Indians routed the Boston Red Sox 6-0 to take a 2-0 lead in their AL Division series.

Shortstop Tulowitzki set the tone when he smacked a two-run blast in the second inning to put Toronto up 2-0.

The Rangers trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth.

But Toronto center fielder Pillar opened the fifth with a solo homer to left. Carrera followed with a homer and Encarnacion ended the burst with another solo homer in the fifth that made it 5-1.

Texas scored twice in the eighth, one run coming when Carlos Gomez lined a single that hit Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano in the back of the neck.

He departed the game, but was able to walk off under his own steam to receive medical tests and treatment.

The game was a curtain-raiser to a full day of intriguing playoff action.

In Cleveland, the Indians were trying to stretch their lead over the Boston Red Sox in game two of their American League series.

The Chicago Cubs, who built the best regular season record in the major leagues in their quest for their first World Series title in more than a century, open their post-season campaign against a red-hot San Francisco Giants team who defeated the New York Mets in the wild card game to reach the National League Division Series.

The Giants are trying to stretch their run of even-year playoff magic, after winning World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The other NL Division Series opens in Washington, where Nationals right-handed hurler Max Scherzer goes up against Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitching ace Clayton Kershaw.

© 2016 AFP

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