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Behind 4-run 1st, Rangers roll past Blue Jays

June 20, 2017

ARLINGTON -- Starter Nick Martinez allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings and Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre hit solo homers to help the Rangers snap a two-game skid, posting a 6-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park."We have been playing really

ARLINGTON -- Starter Nick Martinez allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings and Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre hit solo homers to help the Rangers snap a two-game skid, posting a 6-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.
"We have been playing really good," Gomez said. "Yeah we lost [two straight], but we didn't need to change anything, just keep getting ready to play. The big key was the way Martinez threw the ball. He was pounding the zone. We were able to score early and allow him to relax and take the pressure off him."
Gomez hit his home run in the first as the Rangers struck for four runs off Blue Jays starter Francisco Liriano. Mazara's home run came leading off the fifth as Liriano allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings to fall to 3-3 with a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts.
Martinez has been bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen. He has been trying to help plug holes in the rotation created by Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and A.J. Griffin being on the disabled list. He also sits in the bullpen between starts in case the Rangers need a long reliever.

The Rangers didn't need one Tuesday. Martinez allowed just two hits, walked three and struck out two, throwing six scoreless innings before the Blue Jays broke through in the seventh. He is 2-3 with a 4.58 ERA in 10 starts, not counting his one relief appearance.
Martinez makes most of chance to start
"He was throwing strikes, he was ahead of everybody," Blue Jays left fielder Steve Pearce said. "He was attacking. That being said, that made him tough to hit tonight. He was aggressive and went out there and did what he had to do."
Beltre's home run was his second of the season and No. 447 of his career. It was his 1,079th extra-base hit, passing Cal Ripken Jr. for 23rd on the all-time list. Beltre has 2,960 career hits.

DeShields sparks rally:Delino DeShields reached on a bunt hit to start the first inning for the Rangers. It was his fifth bunt hit of the season, tied for the most in the American League. He stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Beltre's grounder to short. The RBI was the 1,584th of Beltre's career, passing Harmon Killebrew into 36th place on the all-time list.

"It was my call," DeShields said. "I was thinking about it pretty much the whole day. Watching video and feeling [Liriano] out. I thought it'd be a good time. I don't swing at the first pitch that often and a lot of people know that. He gave me a good pitch to handle. I wanted the first baseman to grab it and he did."

Mazara takes lefty deep: Mazara hit his first home run off a left-hander this season when he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Liriano in the fifth and drove it over the right-center-field wall. It was the second home run off a left-hander in his career. The other was on May 25, 2016, against Hector Santiago, then with the Angels.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Mazara said. "I've been working on some stuff, and yeah, I guess the last couple left-handers that I faced, I think I've done a pretty good job with it. So you just try to keep working on it, and hopefully I feel more comfortable."
Epic at-bat includes review: The Blue Jays, trailing 5-0, loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on three consecutive walks issued by Martinez and Jose Leclerc. That brought up Pearce. He fouled off seven straight pitches, including a long drive down the left-field line that didn't miss being a grand slam by much. It ended up being an 11-pitch at-bat with Pearce striking out looking. Ryan Goins' single drove in one run, but Leclerc struck out Kevin Pillar to end the threat.

"It was a punch in the gut, I'll tell you that," Pearce said of missing a grand slam by several feet. "I'd rather yank it way foul so I wouldn't have that little bit of hope. But the count didn't change, it was still 0-2. I dug my cleats in and battled."

The Blue Jays dropped to 0-8 when trying to reach the .500 mark. Toronto has been outscored, 62-20, in those games.
Elusive .500 mark still out of Blue Jays' reach
Blue Jays: Right-hander Joe Biagini (1-6, 4.26 ERA) will take the mound when this series continues Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Biagini is coming off his worst career start, which saw him allow seven runs on eight hits and a walk over just one inning vs. the White Sox. Biagini, who is filling in for the injured Aaron Sanchez, is 1-5 with a 4.70 ERA in eight starts.
Rangers: Right-hander Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.18 ERA) pitches against the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Globe Life Park. Ross made his first start of the season Friday and allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 10-4 victory over the Mariners.
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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.