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TORONTO — Losing the American League Division Series opener was bad enough for the Toronto Blue Jays. The thought of losing a couple of star sluggers made things even worse Thursday.

The good news for the Blue Jays is that the right hamstring issue that forced Jose Bautista from the game in the ninth inning was only a cramp. Far more uncertain is the severity of the injury to Josh Donaldson, who took a knee to the head in a collision at second base in the fourth inning.

Bautista received treatment after the 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre and said he does not expect to miss any time. Donaldson, meanwhile, cleared his concussion tests and will be re-evaluated before Game 2 on Friday afternoon.

Donaldson came out to play third base in the top of the fifth inning before being replaced in the bottom of the frame.

“I think he got a little lightheaded, felt that something wasn’t right,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “But he did pass all the tests so that’s a good sign.”

Donaldson, who did not speak to reporters after the game, collided with infielder Rougned Odor while trying to break up a double play.

The Toronto slugger had reached on a walk and sprinted for second base after Bautista hit a grounder to third baseman Hanser Alberto, who fired the ball to Odor for the forceout. Odor jumped in the air as the hard-charging Donaldson came barrelling in underneath him.

Donaldson’s helmet flew off as his head hit the inside of Odor’s left leg.

“That’s playoff baseball,” said Toronto second baseman Ryan Goins. “Guys are going in hard. (Odor) did a good job to get out of the way and just having Josh hit his knee or whatever it was. So that’s how it goes. We’ll come in tomorrow and get after it.” 

Donaldson stayed down on the ground for a few seconds before walking off under his own power. His exit from the game was a precautionary move, a team spokesman said.

“That kind of thing happens from time to time,” Bautista said. “He was going in hard to break up the double play. Odor was trying to jump over him to make a throw. It happens. It’s a little scary.”

Bautista, meanwhile, said he felt the cramp in his leg during an at-bat in the eighth inning. He started to leave the dugout to come out for the top of the ninth but grimaced and went back to the locker-room for treatment.

Ezequiel Carrera replaced Donaldson in the No. 2 spot in the order but grounded out in his lone at-bat. Utility infielder Cliff Pennington later replaced Carrera at third base.

Canadian Dalton Pompey filled in for Bautista in the No. 3 spot and in right field.

Donaldson, a top contender for the American League’s most valuable player award, batted .297 this past season with 41 homers and 123 RBIs.

“If he’s not playing in the game, he’s banged up,” said Toronto catcher Russell Martin. “So obviously he probably wasn’t feeling too well. Hopefully he can bounce back and be back in the lineup tomorrow. I know if it’s in his capabilities to, he will be in the lineup tomorrow.

“But, you know, he’s an MVP. So obviously you want that guy playing.”

Bautista, who hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, also had a strong regular season with 40 homers and 114 RBIs.

The Rangers also lost one of their star players earlier in the game. Adrian Beltre left in the third inning due to lower back stiffness.

Game 3 will be played Sunday evening at Arlington. The Rangers will also host Game 4, if necessary, on Monday.

If a deciding game is required, it will be played Wednesday at Rogers Centre.


Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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