Stats of the Day: Jays' infield shows historic pop
By Roger Schlueter
Here are five interesting items from the American League Championship Series on Monday ...
• The Blue Jays' batters were out-hit, 15-11, lost the battle of extra-base hits, 5-4, and more than quadrupled Kansas City's numbers of strikeouts (with nine to the Royals' two), but they hit three balls out of the park and came away with an 11-8 victory in Game 3 of the ALCS.
The Blue Jays got home runs from Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson as part of a six-run third inning. The six runs tied a team record for the most in any single postseason inning, with the sole claim previously coming from the lineup in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. In that contest -- a 15-14 win for Toronto -- the Jays scored six in the eighth frame.
Toronto's third home run of the game came from ninth-spot hitter Ryan Goins. The infielder finished the win with two hits and three RBIs. Goins is the 28th player to start a postseason contest batting in the ninth slot and to finish that affair with at least three RBIs. The teams that have gotten this production are now 27-1, with the lone loss coming from the Yankees in Game 2 of the 1978 ALCS. In that 10-4 loss to the Royals, Bucky Dent drove in three.
With third baseman Donaldson, shortstop Tulowitzki and Goins (who started the game at second base before moving to short) each homering and driving in three runs, Toronto became the first team in postseason history to see three-quarters of its starting infield (removing catcher from this equation) each have a homer and at least three RBIs.
• Marcus Stroman (6 1/3 innings pitched, four earned runs) picked up his first win of the 2015 postseason. At 24 years and 171 days old, he became the youngest Blue Jay ever to start and win a postseason game. The previous youngest had been Pat Hentgen, at 24 years and 340 days old for Game 3 of the 1993 World Series. In postseason history, starters under the age of 25 years old are now 142-152 with 114 no-decisions.
• Playing on his 35th birthday, Jose Bautista went 1-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. Bautista has drawn six walks in this ALCS. Frank Thomas (10 in the 1993 ALCS) and Barry Bonds (2002 NLCS) share the LCS record for bases on balls. Bautista is the eighth position player to start a postseason game on his 35th (or older) birthday. He is the first of the eight to record an RBI. Of the previous seven, three had a hit: Jose Cardenal, Placido Polanco and Joe Girardi, who produced the only multihit game of the bunch.
• The Royals' 15 hits tie for the fourth most in postseason history for a losing team in a nine-inning game. In Game 4 of the 1979 World Series, the Pirates had 17 and lost to the Orioles, 9-6. The Dodgers twice had 16 hits in losses (Game 3 of the 2006 NLDS and Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS). The other teams to have 15: the 1947 Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series; the 1982 Cardinals in Game 5 of the Fall Classic; and the 2004 Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS. The Royals became the first team in postseason history -- no matter the number of innings -- to finish a loss with at least 15 hits and no more than two strikeouts.
The Royals got a four-hit game from leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar. The shortstop, who scored three runs, tripled in the first and followed with three singles. Escobar now has 32 postseason hits, tying Frank White for the fourth most in a career for the Royals franchise. George Brett leads with 56, and is followed by Willie Wilson (35) and Hal McRae (33).
Escobar has hit safely in 20 of his first 23 postseason games. Thurman Munson and Darin Erstad hit safely in 21 of their first 23 games. Harry Hooper, Brett, Pat Borders, David Eckstein, Orlando Cabrera and David Freese hit safely in 20 of their first 23 games.
Escobar is the 31st player in postseason history to have a line with at least four hits and three runs scored. Among them, he is the sixth to do it while batting in the leadoff spot. He is the second to do it while playing shortstop, after Derek Jeter in Game 1 of the 2006 ALDS. He is the second Royal to do so, joining Brett in Game 3 of the 1985 ALCS.
• Kansas City's Ben Zobrist collected three doubles to tie an LCS record. The Braves' Fred McGriff (Game 2, 1995 NLCS) and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (Game 2, 2011 NLCS) are the two previous architects of a three-double game in an LCS contest.
Roger Schlueter is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.