Martin Perez continued his early struggles this season and was lifted after just four innings pitched. The left-hander allowed four runs on five hits, including four walks and two strikeouts.
"We've got to start with putting a series together," said manager Jeff Banister said. "That's really the name of what we do. If we can just get the first win, grind through, and continue to try to stack wins together, we'll get back to where we need to be."
Perez's line could have been worse, but all three home runs he allowed were of the solo variety. He's now allowed seven home runs over 20 1/3 innings this season.
"The command, you've got to get the ball in the strike zone first to get hitters in swing mode," Banister said. "He was challenged with the delivery today."
With the velocities on his two-seam and four-seam fastballs down from his season averages, Perez leaned heavily on his changeup throughout the game. He turned to the changeup 28 times over 72 pitches, compared to just 21 two-seamers and 11 four-seamers according to Statcast™.
According to Perez, though, these variations were all intentional.
"I was trying to find a little more movement on my fastball, so that's why," Perez said after the game. "I was trying to play with that."
Texas was unable to mount much offense against J.A. Happ, who struck out nine batters over seven innings. But Renato Nunez blasted a long solo home run to left field off Happ in the top of the second inning. It was Nunez's first homer since being claimed off waivers from the A's earlier this month.
After Tony Barnette and Jake Diekman got the Rangers through to the eighth inning, Banister decided to bring Matt Moore into the game. Moore was the Rangers' likeliest option to start on Wednesday in Cleveland if he was not needed in relief this series.
Center fielder Delino DeShields recorded two of the Rangers five hits, including a double. He reached base and scored in all three games in Toronto.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nunez put the Rangers on the board in the top of the second with a deep home run to left field, his first of the season and second career in the majors. The 411-foot shot left Nunez's bat at 109.8 mph and landed in the back rows of the second deck. The Rangers hope that getting his initial homer out of the way will unlock his power stroke as the season continues.
"We've seen this from him, our scouts have told us that he's got the power," Banister said. "You saw the 32 home runs in the PCL last year. This is a guy we know can swing the bat and put some runs on the board."
HE SAID IT "No. No." -- Perez, on if he grew too frustrated on the mound Sunday
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY Ryan Rua ranged far to his right, making it all the way to stands in foul territory before sliding to nab an Aledmys Diaz fly ball to end the 6th inning. Initial replay's showed that Rua may have trapped the ball, prompting the Blue Jays' coaching staff to call for a review. After viewing all relevant angles, the replay official could not definitively determine that the ball contacted the ground prior to the fielder demonstrating firm and secure possession. The out would stand as originally called.
UP NEXT The Rangers head to Cleveland on Monday for a three-game series against the top team in the American League Central. Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.41 ERA) will take on Trevor Bauer (2-2, 2.41 ERA) in a 6:10 p.m. ET start, and will look to get on track against Cleveland after posting a 6.11 ERA over his six career starts against them. In Hamels' last outing, he allowed two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Athletics.
Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com and is based in Toronto.