Donaldson sparks Blue Jays' win over Texas
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays held on for a 3-2, series-clinching victory over the Rangers at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon. Josh Donaldson homered while Jose Reyes and Devon Travis drove in runs as Toronto held on for a one-run victory despite middle-innings rallies from Texas.
Drew Hutchison earned the win on the mound for the Blue Jays, posting a 5 2/3-innings performance. He walked three and struck out eight before he was lifted with two out and the bases loaded in the sixth. It was Hutchison's fourth straight victory as his sterling record at home improved to 7-1 on the season. Chi Chi Gonzalez was saddled with loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits over six innings.
The Rangers chipped away at a three-run deficit with runs in the sixth and seventh, but they couldn't notch that last bit of offense, dropping their third straight series. They threatened with a leadoff double from Elvis Andrus in the eighth but left him stranded on third base as Steve Delabar and Roberto Osuna combined to retire Joey Gallo, Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo to escape the threat. They had the tying run 90 feet away in the ninth, but Osuna shut the door by striking out Mitch Moreland on three pitches to seal the deal.
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Donaldson ends HR drought: Donaldson put the Blue Jays on the board first with a solo shot off Gonzalez in the fourth inning -- his team-leading 18th home run of the season -- to snap his longest homerless stretch of the year. The Blue Jays slugger, who trails Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in All-Star voting, entered Sunday without a home run in 14 straight games. Donaldson added a single in the fifth to bring his season hit total to 91 -- the fourth most in the American League.
"I've really felt the last two weeks that my quality of swings haven't been up to par or how I like, and within the last two or three days, I've felt my quality of swing was getting up higher, and I've been having some pretty good at-bats," Donaldson said. More >
Rangers rallies not enough: Andrus' single cashed in Moreland to put Texas on the board with two out in the sixth. Following a single and an error and with runners on the corners, Andrus swatted a 1-1 liner to center to cut the Blue Jays' lead to two runs. Joey Gallo walked in the next at-bat, prompting Toronto to lift Hutchison after 5 2/3 innings. They added another run on three singles in the seventh to bring the game within one, but they couldn't muster the tying tally despite threatening with runners on third in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Strong under pressure: The Blue Jays preserved their one-run lead by navigating out of a high-leverage jam in the eighth, thanks in large part to rookie Osuna. After Delabar allowed a leadoff double to Andrus and a subsequent walk to Robinson Chirinos, Osuna entered the inning with two outs and runners at the corners. The right-hander promptly struck out Choo on three pitches to escape the jam, before working around another leadoff double in the ninth to secure his second save of the season with a four-out effort.
"Getting the leadoff runner in the ninth against their closer and giving ourselves a chance to tie the ballgame, you'd like to do it before the ninth," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's tough to get runs off those late-innings pitchers." More >
"It's not how we designed it. We've got to be better with runners in scoring position. Felt like we got pitched tough but really had some opportunities to drive in some runs" -- Banister, on going 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position
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The Blue Jays have now won five consecutive series over the Rangers, dating back to 2013. They're 13-4 over that span.
Rangers: Wandy Rodriguez takes the mound when the Rangers open a four-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT. The 36-year-old lefty's 2.28 road ERA is the seventh-lowest the American League, posting a 4-0 in seven starts away from Arlington. He allowed a season-high eight runs in his shortest outing of the season in his last appearance, which came in a loss to the A's on Wednesday.
Blue Jays:Toronto will send R.A. Dickey to the hill Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET for the beginning of a four-game set against Boston at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays' high-powered offense overwhelmed the Red Sox the last time these clubs met, outscoring Boston 31-19 during a three-game sweep at Fenway Park from June 12-14. Dickey, who gave up three runs over six innings in the middle game of the series, will be in search of just his second win since May 21. The knuckleballer enters the outing having allowed three earned runs or fewer in five straight starts this month (3.09 ERA).
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