TORONTO (AP) — A big day by the bottom of Texas’ batting order helped the Rangers overcome an injury to slugger Adrian Beltre in the start of their postseason run.
Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run homer against David Price, Rougned Odor added a solo shot and the Rangers beat the Blue Jays 5-3 Thursday in their AL Division Series opener as postseason baseball returned to Toronto for the first time in 22 years.
“It means a lot to the team to come to Toronto and win that first game against a great pitcher,” Chirinos said.
Both starting third baseman left with injuries: Beltre came in the third with a strained muscle in his lower back and Toronto’s Josh Donaldson in the fifth after he was kneed in the head while sliding in an attempt to break up a double play.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he wasn’t sure whether Beltre would be available for Game 2 on Friday. In an effort to remain in the series, Beltre had a cortisone shot.
“Obviously we want Adrian in there,” Banister said. “He’s the heart and soul of this ballclub.”
After going for tests at a hospital, Beltre returned to the clubhouse about an hour after the game and walked gingerly. An MRI confirmed Beltre had a strained back but no structural damage, general manager Jon Daniels said.
“We haven’t ruled him out of tomorrow’s game,” Daniels said.
Texas will have Joey Gallo and Ed Lucas travel from its Arizona Fall League team in case Beltre needs to be removed from the roster, a decision that also would rule Beltre out of the AL Championship Series.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Donaldson felt light-headed while playing defense in the top of the fifth, forcing the AL MVP candidate to come out of the game.
“They check for concussions, and apparently he passed all the tests. So that’s good news,” Gibbons said.
Yovani Gallardo (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.
“That’s what we really needed from him,” Banister said. “I think he did a great job.”
Gallardo is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four career starts against Toronto.