The Toronto Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the 2016 American League Division Series with a 10-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday in Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. 

Marco Estrada pitched a gem for the Blue Jays. He stymied the Rangers offense over 8.1 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and striking out six batters.

Former MLB reliever LaTroy Hawkins thought Estrada’s changeup was particularly effective:

Rangers ace Cole Hamels had one of his worst starts of the 2016 season, going 3.1 innings and allowing seven runs—six earned—on six hits. Hamels’ command was an issue throughout his outing. He walked three batters and threw 82 pitches.’s Richard Justice noted how poor the start was:

Hamels was one out away from getting out of the third inning before the game unraveled for the Rangers.

Josh Donaldson got the Blue Jays on the board with a double to left field. The line drive narrowly evaded Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who got a glove on the ball but couldn’t react in time to make the catch. Jose Bautista then doubled Toronto’s lead with a single to center.

A walk to Edwin Encarnacion loaded the bases, and Troy Tulowitzki emptied them with a triple to right-center field to put the Blue Jays ahead 5-0.

Rangers center fielder Ian Desmond has largely exceeded expectations following his transition to the outfield. Tulowitzki’s three-run triple, however, highlighted Desmond’s relative inexperience at the position. As he was tracking the ball, Desmond—bracing for an impact with the outfield wall—pulled up well before he needed to, allowing Tulowitzki’s hit to fall in.

Sports Illustrated‘s Jonah Keri didn’t hold back with his criticism of Desmond:

Vice Sports’ Dave Lozo thought the play would have at least made Roger Dorn of Major League proud:’s Keith Law was seemingly surprised how quickly the Blue Jays took control of the game:

Melvin Upton Jr. began the top of the fourth with a solo home run to left field to give the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead.

Donaldson then knocked Hamels out of the game after singling home Devon Travis.

Bautista piled further misery on the Rangers with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth, putting Toronto ahead 10-0. According to the Toronto Star‘s Bruce Arthur, the right-handed slugger made sure not to anger any Rangers players with another bat flip:

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball thought the 35-year-old helped himself with free agency on the horizon:

FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan tweeted that Bautista’s home run meant Texas has now allowed more runs than it has scored in 2016.

Dropping the first game is far from a decisive blow to the Rangers in the ALDS. Texas took a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jays in last year’s ALDS before ultimately losing the series.

Still, getting a win in Game 2 will be critical for the Rangers. They won’t want to be in a 2-0 hole when the series shifts to the raucous Rogers Centre. Texas finished only three games over .500 on the road this year.

The good news for the Rangers is that they’ll have their best pitcher on the mound to even the series. Yu Darvish went 7-5 and posted a 3.41 ERA in 17 starts. His 3.09 FIP was lowest among the team’s starters, though, per

J.A. Happ will get the nod for Toronto. He went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA during the regular season. On May 5, the veteran lefty went seven innings and allowed one run in a 12-2 win over the Rangers.

If Happ delivers a similar outing, then Toronto will have one foot in the American League Championship Series for the second year in a row.


Postgame Reaction

Rangers manager Jeff Banister doesn’t think Thursday’s defeat will have a residual impact on his team over the rest of the series, according the Canadian Press’ Neil Davidson (via the Vancouver Sun):

Given how our club has played all year long, and we’ve been in these type of situations before, look, we’ve come back and played well after these type of games. And with the veteran group that we have in there, I don’t worry about the collateral damage in a game like this. Obviously we would have liked to have played a lot more competitively. But the other thing that you’ve got to look at, too, is Estrada threw a heck of a game.

After the game, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin had high praise for Estrada, saying he has “little hints of [Greg] Maddux” in his game, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

Estrada wasn’t disappointed that he couldn’t go the full nine innings, per Nicholson-Smith: “Who cares? We won. That’s all that matters.”

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