Allard, Rangers drop G1 to 'aggressive' Jays

July 18th, 2021

was handed his fifth loss in as many starts on Sunday afternoon, falling victim to a free-swinging Blue Jays team that enjoys attacking early and often.

Allard -- who fanned one and walked one across 5 1/3 innings -- allowed a pair of first-pitch run-scoring hits in the Rangers’ 5-0 defeat against the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y. The Texas lefty hasn’t been particularly hurt by first-pitch offense this season (allowing a .231 batting average), but the Blue Jays are the best in that department (MLB-high .416 batting average) and they sure looked like it in Game 1 of the straight doubleheader.

“We obviously knew they’d be coming out and getting aggressive,” Allard said. “And I got through those first two [innings] in I don’t know how many pitches, but it was pretty quick I think. … Those few balls that I left over the middle today -- hey, that happens.”

Yes, Allard breezed through the first two innings, throwing just 16 pitches and going six up, six down against the Blue Jays. Toronto stayed aggressive against him, though, and eventually succeeded.

In the third inning of a one-run game, Bo Bichette scorched a line drive up the middle off Allard on an 0-0 changeup that hung up in the zone. Two innings later, Danny Jansen connected for a leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw.

Both of Bichette and Jansen’s hits exceeded 110 mph exit velocity, but Allard fell victim to some hard luck on softer contact, too. After Allard's two perfect innings to start, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. legged out an infield single on a ball hit 58 mph. In the following inning, Gurriel did it again, reaching on a 55.6-mph dribbler that hugged the third-base line.

The Rangers struggled to create any luck for themselves offensively, squandering a pair of early chances to get on the board first. In the second inning, Joey Gallo led off with a triple, but he was stranded at third thanks to a pair of strikeouts and a popout that followed.

In the third, Texas stranded a pair of runners when Adolis García struck out on three consecutive changeups from Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu. The Rangers were shut out for the eighth time this season, and they’ve now scored just five runs in their past 35 innings.