Rangers reliever, who gave up infamous homer in ALDS, gets slugger to line out
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- It wasn't the prettiest of outings, but Sam Dyson returned to Rogers Centre and brought his competitive edge with him, keeping the Blue Jays off the board in the Rangers' 2-1 victory on Monday night.
Dyson last took the mound at Rogers Centre in Game 5 of the American League Division Series in 2015, and he allowed the infamous "bat flip" home run, a three-run go-ahead shot by Jose Bautista in the bottom of the seventh, which propelled Toronto to a 6-3 victory and a berth in the AL Championship Series.
While the stakes were not as high, the situation was eerily similar to that appearance, with Texas clinging to a one-run lead and the heart of the Blue Jays' order coming up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. Dyson allowed the first two Jays to get aboard before facing Bautista with the game on the line.
The Tampa, Fla., native saw it as a challenge, rather than an opportunity for payback, and the power right-hander retired Bautista with a 98-mph challenge fastball.
"I'd like to face him every time," Dyson said. "It's all about the competition. He's going to win sometimes, I'm going to win sometimes. He hit the ball hard to right field, it went right to a guy. That's part of the game. Sometimes it goes over the fence, sometimes it falls for a double. That's all part of it."
The former Blue Jays prospect would need a little help from his defense to end the inning, and got it it from American League Rookie of the Month, Nomar Mazara.
Dyson induced a medium-depth fly ball off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki, and Mazara fired it home to double up Michael Saunders and preserve the lead. While Dyson admits he didn't have his best stuff, he knew that if he got the ball in play, his teammates would pick him up.
"Any time you can come out in a situation if you can go out there and face those guys -- even if it's not pretty-- and get them out and have the help of your teammates to kind of get you through it, that's why you play the game," Dyson said.
"I want to attack guys. If they beat me, they beat me. My goal is to go out there and try to get outs in any way."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.