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Colon, Chirinos lead Rangers to 3rd straight win

Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Rangers backed Bartolo Colon with three home runs on Saturday afternoon in Toronto en route to the their third consecutive win.

This marks the first time in 2018 that the Rangers have taken three games in a row, and the 7-4 win puts them in line to go for their first series sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon.

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TORONTO -- The Rangers backed Bartolo Colon with three home runs on Saturday afternoon in Toronto en route to the their third consecutive win.

This marks the first time in 2018 that the Rangers have taken three games in a row, and the 7-4 win puts them in line to go for their first series sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon.

View Full Game Coverage

Colon was perfect through his first three innings and avoided the big inning the rest of the way. The right-hander lasted seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts. His ERA now sits at 2.87 on the season.

Video: TEX@TOR: Colon throws 7 solid frames in Toronto

While Colon's average two-seam fastball velocity averaged just 87 mph, he threw it as low as 83.3 mph and as high as 89.6 mph, according to Statcast™. Even when the Blue Jays settled in against Colon through the middle innings, he forced plenty of weak contact.

"Early on, it seemed like he had good movement on the fastball," said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "Then, as they started to get a little bit of timing on the fastball, he went to the slider and changeup to record some outs."

Colon also had one of the defensive plays of the game, snagging a hard line drive off the bat of Kevin Pillar.

Video: TEX@TOR: Colon snatches Pillar's comeback liner

"It's something that really doesn't get talked about much," Banister said. "You watch some of these guys like Bartolo -- veteran pitchers -- once they deliver the ball, they're in a fielding position. They get themselves in position to be a fielder.

Robinson Chirinos was back in the lineup on Saturday after taking a couple of games off to rest a sore wrist, and he announced his return with a pair of home runs. His first home run came in the second inning when he went back-to-back with Jurickson Profar. He went deep again in the sixth off Seunghwan Oh.

"Robinson Chirinos came up big for us today with the two home runs," Banister said.

Texas's bullpen closed things out again after locking down the win in game 1 of the series. Jake Diekman took over for Colon in the eighth and threw a clean inning with two strikeouts. Kevin Jepsen allowed a solo home run and a walk, before Banister called on closer Keone Kela for the one-out save.

Video: TEX@TOR: Kela earns his 6th save of the season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Freebies runs: The Blue Jays gave Shin-Soo Choo and the Rangers a gift in the fourth inning. Choo hit a very catchable fly ball to left-center field between Curtis Granderson and Pillar, but the two outfielders hesitated, and let the ball bounce off Pillar's glove between them. This allowed Ryan Rua and Delino DeShields to score, which extended their early lead to 5-0, instead of ending the inning at 3-0.

Video: TEX@TOR: Choo drives in Rua, DeShields with double

SOUND SMART
Colon's 241st win puts him just two back of Juan Marichal for the most all-time by a native of the Dominican Republic. He has now won games for 11 different teams.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Profar's home run in the second inning left his bat at 112.2 mph, which is the hardest-hit ball that Statcast™ has ever recorded from Profar. His previous high was 107.5 mph on a lineout against Michael Fulmer in 2016. 

Video: TEX@TOR: Profar crushes a 2-run homer to left

HE SAID IT
"Any time that I watch [Adrian] Beltre, watch [Albert] Pujols, Ichiro [Suzuki], Colon … You watch these guys that have been around, and they're magical ballplayers. They're baseball players, and they'll be legends. There's a legacy. It's tremendous. I love watching them knocking names down that some of these young guys probably have to go back into the Baseball Encyclopedia to look up and see who they are or who they were. It's special. It's our history. - Banister, on Colon

UP NEXT
Martin Perez (2-2, 9.82 ERA) rebounded in his last outing against the Mariners with six innings of two-run ball. Walks and home runs were issues in his two starts prior, but the left-hander has pitched well against the Blue Jays in the past. Over three career matchups, he holds a 2.08 ERA. He takes the mound for the 12:07 p.m. CT start, as the Blue Jays send left-hander J.A. Happ to the hill.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com.

Texas Rangers, Bartolo Colon