Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has picked his spots to contribute with the bat in the playoffs. His latest effort helped extend the Blue Jays’ post-season run for at least one more game.
Tulowitzki’s bases-clearing double was the highlight of a four-run sixth inning as the Blue Jays defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-1 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. He swatted a 98 mile-per-hour pitch from reliever Kelvin Herrera into left-centre field to bring home Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
“Amazing – and it was on that one swing,” said Bautista. “Tulo didn’t let that first-pitch fastball go by. He attacked it, he hit it in the gap and drove three in in a 1-0 game, an elimination game. That’s obviously by far the hit of the game.”
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The play sent the sellout Rogers Centre crowd into a tizzy and the normally all-business Tulowitzki was fired up when he reached second base.
Tulowitzki, who homered in Toronto’s 11-8 Game 3 win, is getting hot at the right time. He was just 2-for-21 (.096 average) in the five-game divisional series win over Texas but is batting at a .368 clip in the ALCS.
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The 31-year-old shortstop has played through pain for the entire post-season after suffering a cracked shoulder blade in a game last month. It doesn’t seem to affect him on the field – his defence has been strong and he leads the team with 11 RBIs in the playoffs.
Tulowitzki has been receiving regular treatment for his sore back and shoulder and can usually be seen sporting a large ice pack in the area after each game.
“I’m good enough to go, I’ve said that all along,” he said. “I wouldn’t be out there if I wasn’t. Any time you’re out there, do whatever you can to win. Lately I’ve been putting good swings. It’s a tough game.
“Sometimes you go through some rough patches, sometimes you swing the bat well. Lately I’ve been (making) better swings.”
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Tulowitzki also singled and scored an insurance run in the eighth inning to finish 2-for-4 on the day. His three-run double was the first in the team’s playoff history.