Blue Jays post 6-run 1st, hold off Rangers

June 22nd, 2017

ARLINGTON -- Toronto's new-look lineup put up six runs in the first inning, and the Blue Jays weathered a steady Texas rally to beat the Rangers, 7-5, on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park.

Rangers starter needed 41 pitches to get through a six-run first inning in his second start since Opening Day 2016. The Blue Jays roughed him up, and although he got through the third, the damage was done. Toronto went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position, taking advantage of its opportunities to climb back within one game of .500. The Blue Jays left six runners on base, snapping a three-game streak where they had stranded nine men on in each game.

"His stuff was there, we saw it in the second, saw some of if it in the third," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "However, I made the decision that, after the first, I was not going to -- literally, it was hitter by hitter, just where we were at, and the pitch count -- protect him some in that scenario, and still felt like he kind of found some rhythm there, but I was unwilling to push that based off the first inning past that pitch count mark."

Texas rallied, scraping five runs across to make it interesting, including Joey Gallo's inside-the-park home run in the fifth. The Rangers couldn't quite complete the comeback, though, and fell below .500 once again.

"Tremendous game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That was one of those ones where they kept creeping back after we scored early. You see that happen a lot. A team hangs around. They gave us a couple of scares, but we took advantage of Ross and we got some big clutch outs late."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

New lineup pays off early:The Blue Jays shuffled their lineup before the game, inserting as the leadoff hitter for . It looked like a smart move. Bautista drew a walk and five Toronto hitters got a hit in the first as Toronto hung six runs on Ross.

"It never hurts having Bautista leading off, he gets on base so much," said Blue Jays infielder , who hit a two-run shot in the first. "We've got guys who can hit anywhere so I don't think that's any concern to us as players." More >

Gallo rounds the bases; Pearce injured: Gallo is among the league leaders in home runs, but his latest one wasn't a mammoth fly ball. In the fifth, Gallo hit a fly ball off the left-field corner wall, and he sprinted home for an inside-the-park home run, cutting the Blue Jays' lead to 7-3. More >

On the play, Blue Jays left fielder Steve Pearce crashed into the wall and left the game after the inning with a bruised right knee. X-rays were negative and he's day to day.

"I couldn't see it," Pearce said. "When it went up, I looked back to find the wall and then I looked to find the ball again. I had no idea where it was. I had to rush back there and try to time the catch and I hit right in between two pads, something pretty hard." More >

Scheppers keeps it close: started the eighth for the Rangers, but he allowed a pair of baserunners. With two outs, Pillar stole third base, giving the Blue Jays a prime opportunity to pad their lead after the Rangers had scored five unanswered runs. , in his second game back after being called up, got to hit a soft liner to Gallo at third, through, ending the threat.

QUOTABLE

"I didn't even realize I did that. At that time, I knew the throw wasn't coming in. I thought there might be a play, because I was just having my head down running, but then the catcher was kind of just standing up not really paying attention, so I figured it wasn't really close." -- Gallo, on looking back at left field when running home

"I think it was the summer solstice that made the days feel longer." -- Blue Jays starter , on being anxious to get back on the mound after allowing a career-high seven runs in his last start. He allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the victory.

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

had two hits, including a home run, and a walk. He's reached base two or more times in seven consecutive games, the second-longest streak by a Ranger in the past two seasons. Only 's streak of nine consecutive games with that distinction from Aug. 7-15, 2016, is longer.

Toronto has won 15 of its past 20 games in Arlington dating back to the start of 2013.

REPLAY REVIEW

With two outs in the sixth, roped a single into left field, scoring Mike Napoli and Gallo. He was ruled out at first when trying to dive back into the base after rounding it too far, but Banister challenged the call. After a two-minute, 42-second review, the ruling was overturned. With the successful challenge, Banister is 22-for-35 on challenges this season.

WHAT'S NEXT

Blue Jays: Right-hander (7-3, 3.15 ERA) will take the mound when the series wraps up Thursday at 2:05 p.m. ET. Stroman took the loss in his last outing vs. the White Sox after he allowed three runs over seven innings. That snapped a streak of seven consecutive Stroman outings in which the Blue Jays came away with a victory.

Rangers: Left-hander takes the mound in the finale of the Rangers' seven-game homestand Thursday at 1:05 p.m. CT. He hasn't faced Toronto this season, but Perez is 0-1 with a 0.79 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.

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