TORONTO -- Andrew Cashner's fastball took many forms in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday, and coming toward the end of an up-and-down month for the team, the timing couldn't have been better.
The right-hander leaned on his two-seam fastball to hold Toronto to just one run over seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.92 on the season. With Cashner's fastball locked in, his complementary pitches were even more effective.
"When he's up to 94, 95 mph, they've got to honor the fastball," said manager Jeff Banister after the club snapped their five-game losing streak. "That makes the changeup and the breaking ball even more dynamic."
Cashner's two-seam fastball averaged 92.5 mph on Sunday, up from his season average of 91.8, but it was the variance in his fastball velocities that was most important. Cashner threw his two-seamer as low as 89.1 mph and as high as 96.7 mph, according to Statcast™ data. Toronto did put 12 balls in play against the pitch, but at a manageable 80.9 mph average exit velocity.
"I think, early in the season, I was still looking for strength," said Cashner, who got a late start in Spring Training and has been successfully catching up as the season goes along.
The timing of Cashner's start allowed Banister to simplify the Rangers' bullpen approach, turning to Keone Kela and Matt Bush for one inning each at the back end. With a combination of uncharacteristically slow starts and injuries, that hasn't always been easy for Texas to pull off.
"It's nice to use the guys that are out there in the spots they're supposed to be in," Banister said.
May has now included a 10-game winning streak and five-game losing streak for Texas, but there could be another positive awaiting the Rangers back home when they arrive for Monday's homestand, beginning against Tampa Bay.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre is back in Texas after completing three extended spring training games and his calf will be evaluated Monday to determine his potential return.
"A little momentum," Banister said of the win, "and hopefully something really good to look forward to."