TORONTO - Lost somewhat in the Blue Jays' terrific second-half sprint past the Yankees to the AL East crown was another American League team's surprising surge to a division title.
Most popular baseball stories
The Texas Rangers, who overtook the Houston Astros in the AL West with a 46-28 second half, stunned Toronto for a second straight afternoon Friday, taking ALDS Game 2, 6-4, in a wild 14 innings that had a bit of everything, including a controversial replay review and a bench-clearing incident.
"They outlasted us," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who not only saw his team go down two games to none in the best-of-five series -- with the next two games on the road -- but lost his best lefty reliever, Brett Cecil, to a calf tear.
The controversy occurred in the top of the 14th when the Rangers, who can close out the series Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, scored two runs to drain the remaining enthusiasm out of what had been a raucous sellout crowd of 49,716 at Rogers Centre.
Rougned Odor reached on a two-out infield single against LaTroy Hawkins and took a big turn around second on Chris Gimenez's single to right. The cannon-armed Jose Bautista gunned the ball to second in an attempt to nip Odor, who was called safe. Replays appeared to show that Troy Tulowitzki held the tag on as Odor's foot momentarily came off the bag, but replay umpires in New York ruled him safe.
"I thought it passed the eye test," Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar said. "It looked pretty clear to a lot of us there was a little space in there."
Hanser Alberto -- who replaced the injured Adrian Beltre at third base in Game 1 and committed a key error in the Blue Jays' two-run second in Game 2 -- followed with an RBI single to center that made it 5-4. In came Liam Hendriks and Delino DeShields greeted him with an infield single for a 6-4 lead.
"Getting an opportunity to go home and finish the job at home in front of our fans is what we live for," DeShields said. "We have a lot of momentum, we have a lot of confidence."
Rangers righthander Ross Ohlendorf struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the 14th but hit Russell Martin to bring Pillar to the plate as the tying run. Ohlendorf struck him out to end a 4-hour, 57-minute game that featured a combined 14 pitchers.
Five of them were Rangers relievers, who followed ace lefthander Cole Hamels to the mound and allowed two hits in the last seven innings.
"Our bullpen is unbelievable and they showed it again," Beltre said.
Hamels allowed four runs (two earned) and six hits in seven innings.
Former Patchogue-Medford High School star Marcus Stroman allowed three runs (two earned) in the first two innings but followed with five shutout innings. He left after allowing a leadoff single by DeShields in the eighth, and the usually reliable Cecil allowed a two-out RBI single by pinch hitter Mike Napoli that tied it at 4-4.
The bench-clearing incident entailed little more than shouting. After AL MVP candidate Josh Donaldson just missed ending the game with a long foul ball down the leftfield line in the 13th, he seemed to take issue with what he thought was a quick pitch by Keone Kela. The two yelled at each other, causing the benches to empty.
"I think he threw a quick pitch," Napoli said. "I don't think Donaldson liked it."
Donaldson declined to specify. "It was a couple things," he said. "Let's just leave it at that."
The biggest thing is an 0-2 deficit for a team that entered the postseason as one of the favorites to reach the World Series.
"Our backs are against the wall, obviously," Tulowitzki said. "To lose two at home is not the way you want to start out a series."