Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 4, Rangers 2
May, 17, 2014
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Toronto Blue Jays got the lead three separate times Saturday night and finally kept it for good after scoring in the eighth inning to beat the Texas Rangers 4-2. Some quick thoughts:
How it happened: Toronto got typically solid starting pitching from Mark Buehrle, who got a no-decision after going 6⅔ innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Rangers tied the game twice but couldn't ever get the lead. A two-out double by Jose Reyes off Rangers reliever Neal Cotts in the eighth drove in the eventual winning run.
What it means: The Rangers have lost six of their past seven and are 5-10 in May. The Oakland A's beat Cleveland on Saturday, so Texas is seven games back of Oakland in the American League West at 20-23 overall. The Rangers are now 0-3-1 in their past four home series and have lost six consecutive home games to the Blue Jays, which includes a four-game sweep last season.
Big arm: Leonys Martin showed off his impressive arm in center field again Saturday, firing a strike to catcher Robinson Chirinos to end the fifth inning and keep the score tied. Edwin Encarnacion hit what he hoped would be a sacrifice fly to center, but Reyes was thrown out at home thanks to Martin's throw and a nice play by Chirinos. The catcher waited to block the plate as he was catching it, tagging Reyes before he could get there.
High pitch count: Robbie Ross allowed only one run in his start Saturday -- but the lefty was working out of jams most of the night, needing 91 pitches to get through 4⅓ innings. He also got a rare early-game visit from manager Ron Washington himself, probably to get him refocused. Ross walked four batters and gave up a home run -- a solo shot off the bat of Jose Bautista with two out in the first.
Missed challenge: The Rangers are 4-for-9 on replay challenges this season. In the seventh, Anthony Gose stole third base with one out. The throw by Chirinos was on time and on the bag, but Adrian Beltre's tag was late. Third-base umpire Hal Gibson called him safe, and the replay confirmed that call, meaning the Rangers lost the challenge.
Speed helps Jays: Gose's speed was crucial to giving Toronto the lead in the seventh. Gose hit a double to lead things off, then stole third base. On a dribbler down the third-base line by Melky Cabrera, Gose didn't hesitate and Beltre was forced to throw to first instead of home. The run likely wouldn't have happened without Gose's speed.
RISP lead: Michael Choice drove in the Rangers' first run with a third-inning single. He is hitting .416 with runners in scoring this season, tops on the team among those with at least four at-bats. Luis Sardinas plated the second Texas run, in the seventh, with a two-out RBI single. He's now 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
Finger issue: Alexi Ogando's fingers saved a run in the seventh inning, but he was forced to leave after Brett Lawrie's ball nicked off those fingers, on his pitching hand, and landed in front Elvis Andrus. Ogando ended up pitching to three batters, allowing a hit and two walks (with a wild pitch). Ogando was diagnosed with a bruised hand, and X-rays were negative. The ball hit him above the palm.
Insurance run: The Blue Jays increased their lead to two runs thanks to an error by Mitch Moreland in the ninth. Moreland dropped the relay throw on what looked like a routine double play. A double and a sac fly later, Toronto had a 4-2 lead.
Up next: Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.38 ERA) goes up against fellow right-hander R.A. Dickey (4-3, 4.53 ERA) at 2:05 p.m. CT in the finale of this three-game series.