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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada winds up during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series Oct 21, 2015 in Toronto.MARK BLINCH

Marco Estrada is, really, the forgotten man of the Toronto Blue Jays pitching rotation.

In the regular season, its makeup included two former Cy Young Award winners in David Price and R.A. Dickey; a wily 36-year-old veteran innings-eater in Mark Buehrle; and Marcus Stroman, the exuberant wunderkind with the multihued hairdo.

And Estrada, who went about his work every fifth day in his quiet, unassuming fashion, and forged his best major league season in the process.

And nobody really noticed.

Until now.

In the biggest game of the season for Toronto, Estrada was almost precision perfect. And the Blue Jays, for the fourth time in their 2015 postseason run, have staved off elimination.

With a morale-boosting 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, the Blue Jays have trimmed the Royals' lead in the American League Championship Series to 3-2 in the best-of-seven showdown.

The series shifts back to Kansas City for its ultimate conclusion, beginning with Game 6 on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said he will start Price on Friday. The loser in last Saturday's Game 2, Price is 0-7 in seven postseason career starts.

Price will square off against Yordano Ventura in what will be a Game 2 pitching rematch.

Showcasing a lethal changeup that kept the K.C. batters off balance for most of the night, Estrada was in control. He allowed just three hits and the lone K.C. run in 7 and 2/3 dominating innings.

"Today he was absolutely dynamite," Royals managers Ned Yost said of Estrada. "He didn't miss spots. His changeup was fantastic, he just didn't give us anything to hit."

Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki came through again with a key hit, stroking a three-run double in the sixth inning that broke open what had been a tight 2-0 affair.

Tulowitzki has driven in seven runs in five games against Kansas City, a franchise record in the ALCS.

As usual, Rogers Centre was filled with close to 50,000 patrons, but the building had a different vibe from the previous home playoff games.

There was more a feeling of nervous energy as the patrons took their seats, wondering if the end was near for the Blue Jays. The noise level at the start of the game was not quite as piercing as it was in the two previous ALCS home games.

Chris Colabello changed that with one swing in the second inning, sending a 0-2 changeup by Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez over the wall in straightaway centre for a home run that helped cut the tension.

The blast, Colabello's second of the postseason, provided Toronto with the early 1-0 lead.

"I think I let out some emotion when I came around third," Colabello said. "I screamed at the dugout 'Let's go.' It's something we thrive off of, being ahead. When we've played ahead this year we loosen up at the plate, gives our pitcher a little wiggle room, takes some tension off his shoulders."

With Estrada facing the minimum of 18 batters through the first six innings, Volquez was almost his equal. He had allowed just three hits heading into the sixth, where his control suddenly deserted him.

Ben Revere drew a leadoff walk and moved to second when Volquez hit Josh Donaldson in his left elbow with a pitch.

Jose Bautista then fouled off five successive pitches to earn himself a well-deserved 10-pitch walk to load the bases with nobody out.

On came Edwin Encarnacion and he also worked a walk that forced in Revere from third. That moved Toronto in front 2-0.

Then came the game's decisive offensive moment.

With K.C. reliever Kelvin Herrera now in the game, Tulowitzki lashed a double that one-hopped the wall in centre field that cleared the sacs and extended Toronto's advantage to 5-0.

"We didn't panic, that's for sure," Gibbons said. "And that's what we do. And that's what makes our offence so good, really. Guys take their walls and it sets things up for the other guys."

Afterward, Tulowitzki could not say enough about the patience that both Bautista and Encarnacion are constantly able to display at the plate.

"In playoff games you're trying to be a tough out," Tulowitzki said. "Those guys are professional hitters. I see it every single game; they put together good at-bats. I can't say enough.

"Me being in the National League, I didn't get to see Bautista and Eddie. You see some highlights of their home runs, but you didn't get to see their at-bats on a regular basis."

In staving off elimination on Wednesday, the Blue Jays probably saved the Royals from what might have been a difficult time heading home.

"If we win, it's going to be really fun watching 35 drunk guys try to get through customs," K.C. manager Ned Yost told reporters before the game.