Tuesday, October 20, 2015
ALCS: JAYS FACE ELIMINATION
Ben Zobrist and Alex Rios homered as Kansas City roughed up Toronto starter R.A. Dickey early and a depleted bullpen late en route to a lopsided 14-2 victory Tuesday that pushed the Blue Jays to the playoff precipice.
The Royals lead the best-of-seven American League Championship Series 3-1, meaning Toronto now faces its fourth must-win game of the post-season.
Game 5 goes Wednesday at the Rogers Centre with Toronto's Marco Estrada facing Edinson Volquez in a rematch of Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium.
"We'll be fine (Wednesday) if we get a good outing by Marco. We expect to,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said hopefully.
"And it was ugly today, no doubt about that. That's all I can say.''
How ugly? Their bullpen in tatters, the Jays sent in infielder Cliff Pennington to pitch with two outs and two on in the ninth.
Pennington, who pitched in college, gave up two runs on back-to-back singles in a seven-pitch cameo before Russell Martin saved him with a foul catch at the Jays dugout.
The Rogers Centre crowd of 49,501 had little to cheer about. Pennington offered welcome relief, albeit while adding to the smackdown. He arrived to an ovation that grew louder with a 90 m.p.h first strike.
Pennington is the first position player to pitch in a post-season game, according to Sportsnet Stats and ESPN Stats.