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Down 0-2, Blue Jays remain confident against Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson leans on the

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson leans on the rail in the dugout during the 11th inning of baseball Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers in Toronto, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Credit: AP / Nathan Denette

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Blue Jays dressed quietly in their clubhouse at Rogers Centre in Toronto, an appropriate lack of noise after a draining 14-inning loss that put them one defeat from elimination in their Division Series against the Rangers.

But those looking for a sense of panic or doom -- the latter permeated the city of Toronto, which had been waiting 22 years for the playoffs to return, after Friday's 6-4 loss -- saw and heard none of it.

"The task at hand is pretty simple," Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "We have to win or we go home. That being said, I like our chances because of the team we have in here."

A team that, with the most explosive offense in the big leagues, shot past the Yankees to capture the AL East crown, erasing an eight-game deficit with a 43-18 surge.

Perhaps even more impressive, the Blue Jays -- who will send righthander Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13) to the mound Sunday night against Rangers lefthander Martin Perez (3-6, 4.46) -- haven't lost three straight games since July 8-10.

And now, some numbers that are not in Toronto's favor:

Clubs that have won the first two games of a Division Series are 42-5 all-time, according to, with the last team to rally from a 0-and-2 hole the 2003 Red Sox against the A's.

The only teams to come back after dropping the first two games at home are the 2001 Yankees, against the A's, and the 2012 Giants, against the Reds.

"This is an uphill battle, but it's been done before," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, a former Yankee, told reporters.

The task became even tougher with the news after Friday's game that lefthander Brett Cecil, the Blue Jays' best second-half reliever -- he didn't allow an earned run in his last 37 appearances dating to June 21 -- will be out for the rest of the postseason with a torn left calf muscle. Rookie righthander Ryan Tepera, who had a 3.27 ERA in 32 appearances this season, replaced him.

The Rangers, of course, are dealing with their own significant injury. Third baseman Adrian Beltre, forced from Game 1 with a back strain, did not work out Saturday and is questionable for Game 3.

"Definitely a big loss," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Cecil before his club's workout Saturday at Globe Life Park. "He's been so good for us, arguably the best reliever in baseball the last three months. Texas' lineup [has] so many lefthanders, that's where he really was important to us. But that's the way it goes."

Gibbons has concerns about his own lineup, which bashed its way to the AL East crown but has mostly been held in check this series. Most notably, five Texas relievers held the Blue Jays to no runs and two hits in the final seven innings of Friday's loss.

"I think we need a big outburst with the bats," Gibbons said. "If you look at our season . . . that's kind of our trademark. Their pitching's really shut us down the last two games, so we need to do that to win. Hopefully we can do it one time, catch our breath a little bit and gain a little confidence. Then maybe we can hang in this thing."


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