ARLINGTON -- The game-time temperature here was 5.6 degrees Celsius (42 Fahrenheit), and the Blue Jays' offense couldn't warm up, mustering just two hits against Rangers starter Mike Minor and two relievers Saturday in a 5-1 loss at Globe Life Park.Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman battled hard through a difficult
ARLINGTON -- The game-time temperature here was 5.6 degrees Celsius (42 Fahrenheit), and the Blue Jays' offense couldn't warm up, mustering just two hits against Rangers starter Mike Minor and two relievers Saturday in a 5-1 loss at Globe Life Park.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman battled hard through a difficult night in which he struggled to find the strike zone, and the Rangers finally got to him for four runs in the fifth inning to take charge of the game.
Stroman admitted after the game that he had no feel for his pitches, though he didn't blame the weather.
"It was a battle. It was a grind," said Stroman. "To look back and see five walks on the board, that's not me. I wasn't good today. I'll go back to the drawing board and be better next time."
Stroman danced around Rangers scoring opportunities much of the night, with the help of some good defense, including a leaping grab by Randal Grichuk to save a run in the second inning. But in the fifth, the roof finally caved in. After walking the first two batters, he was one out away from getting through it unscathed, but Joey Gallo plated two runs with a sharply hit double down the right-field line, then scored when Jurickson Profar followed with a double.
That ended Stroman's night. Danny Barnes came on and was greeted with a single that scored Profar. That closed the book on Stroman, who fell to 0-1 with the loss. Only 44 of his 95 pitches were strikes (46 percent), marking the first start in his career he has thrown more balls than strikes.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays' offense was held in check by Minor, whose only blemish was a Steve Pearce homer. Toronto manager John Gibbons was very complimentary of Minor.
"He pounded the zone on a cold night," said Gibbons.
Rangers relievers Kevin Jepsen and Jake Diekman finished off the Blue Jays in the final three innings without allowing a hit.
Stroman wore a cap on which he scribbled "Humboldt Broncos SK" on the front, in remembrance of the bus accident that claimed 15 lives from a junior-hockey team on Friday night.
"Waking up to that [news] this morning was hard," said Stroman. "It was hard all day. We're going to try to raise some money. We're going to do everything we can to support you guys. It really puts life in perspective."
The Rangers also observed a moment of silence before Saturday's game in remembrance of the Broncos.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rangers walk before they run: The Rangers' offense erupted for four runs in the fifth, beginning with back-to-back walks. Stroman was then called for a balk, which upset the young right-hander because he had done the same thing earlier in the game and a balk was not called. Nevertheless, with two outs, Gallo and Profar both doubled to chase Stroman from the game.
Double play gets Minor back on track: Minor didn't get off to a good start, walking two of the first three batters he faced. That proved to be the best scoring opportunity the Jays would mount against Minor. However, Yangervis Solarte hit a chopper to third base that Profar turned into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Lefty Jaime Garcia makes his first career start against the Rangers in the series finale Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Garcia allowed one run on four hits in six innings against the White Sox in his first start with the Blue Jays. In that game, he was limited to 85 pitches after dealing with shoulder soreness in Spring Training. He will have no pitch limit Sunday afternoon against Cole Hamels and the Rangers.
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Dic Humphrey is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Blue Jays on Saturday.