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Wow, Canada! Blue Jays reach ALCS with wild Game 5 win over Rangers

Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays throws

Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays throws his bat up in the air after he hits a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on Oct. 14, 2015 in Toronto. Credit: Getty Images / Tom Szczerbowski

TORONTO - Crazy. Wild. Insane. Ludicrous. Never seen anything like it.

Take a pick. None adequately describes the seventh inning of Game 5 of the ALDS Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays' 6-3 victory included a near-riot by the sellout crowd of 49,742 -- an ugly scene that included a hailstorm of garbage hurled by angry fans -- a game protest, two bench-clearing incidents, three consecutive errors by the Rangers and a titanic, go-ahead three-run homer by one of the sport's most feared sluggers.

Again, all in a 53-minute seventh inning.

"A game like that, it's pretty exhausting,'' Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "Mentally. Physically. Everything.''

After the cauldron of weirdness boiled for almost four indescribable hours, the Blue Jays, in the playoffs for the first time since 1993, advanced to the ALCS to meet the Royals.

"To have a game like tonight,'' Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said, "was absolutely crazy. Insane.''

To the theater of the absurd:

With the score tied at 2 to start the seventh, Toronto righthander Aaron Sanchez relieved former Patchogue-Medford High School standout Marcus Stroman, who allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

Rougned Odor greeted Sanchez with a single and reached third with two outs. With Shin-Soo Choo up, Sanchez threw a 1-and-2 pitch for a ball. Russell Martin's return throw to Sanchez hit the lower part of Choo's bat, the ball skipped away, and Odor alertly ran home.

Plate umpire and crew chief Dale Scott initially sent Odor back to third, but Rangers manager Jeff Banister argued and, after the six umpires conferred, Odor was awarded home, putting Texas ahead 3-2.

According to Rule 6.03 (a) (3), the ball was in play.

"If there's no intent, if he's not out of the box, that ball's live,'' Scott told a pool reporter.

Said Martin: "I don't think Choo did anything illegal. I've never seen anything like that.''

Nor what followed.

Fans immediately began throwing water bottles, beer cans and game programs -- among other things -- onto the field as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons argued. After a discussion that lasted 18 minutes -- which included Scott getting on headsets with umpires in New York to double-check the rule -- the call stood. Gibbons protested the game and more refuse rained down, and it appeared as if several spectators in the lower levels were injured.

The Rangers, remarkably, promptly committed three straight fielding errors to start the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases for the Blue Jays. Ben Revere failed to get a run home, grounding into a 3-2 force. Next came Donaldson, who popped a flare over second baseman Odor's head into short right. But Kevin Pillar had to hold up and was forced at second as a run scored to tie it at 3.

That was all for Cole Hamels, and righthander Sam Dyson faced Jose Bautista. With the count 1-and-1, Dyson threw a 97-mph fastball Bautista annihilated to left for a three-run homer that made it 6-3. He punctuated the blow with a bat flip that would make Yoenis Cespedes jealous. It brought the house down, as well as more trash from the upper deck.

"I just enjoyed the moment, rounded the bases and got to the dugout,'' Bautista said. "After all the guys stopped punching me and hitting me is when I started realizing what happened.''

As Edwin Encarnacion, whose homer, coupled with a bat flip of his own, tied it at 2 in the sixth, came to the plate, he and Dyson began yelling at each other, leading to the first bench-clearing event. After Tulowitzki fouled out to end the inning, he and Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez began jawing, and the benches emptied again.

With fans likely not able to take much more, the last two innings went relatively quietly.

"I spent two months with the Mets in '86,'' Gibbons said. "I wasn't an active player but I was around with the [Game 6] comeback against the Red Sox. I know crazy things happen in this game, especially this time of year.''


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