After two games of giddy misery under the dome, we may have figured out what was bothering the Toronto Blue Jays – Toronto.
At home, nothing went right. Pitchers couldn't pitch. Hitters couldn't hit. The roof could not fulfill its only engineering purpose.
Granted their biggest opening in nearly a quarter-century, the Jays walked out on stage and forgot their lines. It was the Texas Rangers who kept completing them.
Decamped to sultry Arlington, the Jays suddenly rediscovered their ease and their offensive swagger.
Toronto's 5-1 win puts it back into the American League Division Series, still down 2-1. The Blue Jays play another elimination game here on Monday afternoon in the best-of-five series.
There wasn't any particular revelation during the victory. Reliable starter Marco Estrada was even more reliable than usual, but still reliable.
The hitters were no longer trying to splinter bats with their hands or create mushroom clouds with the force of their swings. They took balls and swung at strikes, with the usual positive results.
If you still believe – and there's no reason you shouldn't – the best thing of all was that the Jays didn't suddenly start doing things right. Instead, they stopped doing things wrong.
By their regular-season standards, the Jays were only average on Sunday. They're starting to remember that their average is better than a lot of teams' best.
It helped that the Rangers seemed to deflate under the pressure of a large, enthusiastic crowd.
Now they were the ones handling balls as if they were greased and tightening up when a loose assurance was required.
In Toronto, Texas played as if it could do this for fun and forever. Back home, the Rangers seemed anxious to get it over with.
The players would never put it this way, but a wound-up crowd may not have helped. The pregame intros went on forever. George W. Bush was on hand. Also, there was national pride to consider. You can't lose to (temporary) Canadians.
As Fox Sports analyst and former pro Harold Reynolds pointed out during Sunday night's broadcast, we aren't good at this "because there's not a lot of people who grew up playing baseball in Canada; they're not used to catching balls."
Given that sort of karma, the night played out for the Rangers' crowd a lot like it had for Toronto's in Games 1 and 2.
Rangers' starter Martin Perez looked great in the first two innings. He will want to hang on to that half-hour like an emotional life raft, because what followed was ugly.
Mr. Perez dribbled out a run in the third, and was saved by a remarkable double play by Rougned Odor.
In the fourth, he allowed only one run on 33 pitches – including three walks. That's more impressive than imploding.
In the fourth, he danced with disaster once more and was saved by another goofy double play – a line-ball out to second while Kevin Pillar drifted from third base.
The Texas crowd was trying to talk itself into believing. When their declining slugger Josh Hamilton hit a single in the fifth – ending a postseason 0-for-31 streak – they cheered as if it actually mattered.
If you are a fan of the Blue Jays, you were at this point most likely trapped between wanting to believe and not wanting to compound your disappointment.
Toronto led 2-0, but should've already put two or three times that score by the Rangers. A few words were occurring to you, words such as "rue" and "profligate" and "why do you punish us for loving you?"
The Jays loaded the bases to start the sixth. Chris Colabello hit into another double play. Next up was Troy Tulowitzki, owner of an unhopeful 0-for-11 hitting streak during these playoffs.
Had you to sum up Mr. Tulowitzki in a single word, it would be "purposeful." He turned 31 years old on Saturday. When some teammates tried to interrupt him on the way out to the field to wish him a happy birthday, he pretended not to hear and blasted by them. He had places to be.
As Mr. Tulowitzki stepped in to the box on Sunday, your confidence may have been low.
He worked the count full. He took the sixth pitch he faced and launched it over the left-field wall. The crowd grew so quiet as he did so, you began to doubt it had the distance. I've never known a crowd to get so still on a home run while it's in the air – even an opponent's.
Rangers' fans began dribbling out shortly thereafter.
Toronto still has it all to do. Speaking just in terms of the odds, they're still unlikely to do it.
But they proved on Sunday they still believe they can. If they can manage two in a row, they will have convinced everyone else, as well.