Blue Jays blow 4-run lead, fall to Rangers
Jose Bautista ejected in 9th inning
The Texas Rangers used the long ball to get in the position for a comeback win on Sunday.
A lack of focus from Toronto slugger Jose Bautista in a big ninth-inning situation helped them seal the victory.
Nelson Cruz, David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered as the Rangers scored six unanswered runs in a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Texas (37-25) salvaged the finale of the three-game series and ended Toronto's three-game winning streak.
The Blue Jays (27-35) had the potential tying run at second base with one out in the ninth and Bautista at the plate.
The Toronto slugger didn't like a called strike by umpire Gary Darling and it appeared to rattle him for the rest of the at-bat. When Bautista struck out, he jawed with the umpire and was ejected from the game.
Bautista has never been shy about voicing his displeasure with umpire calls. Manager John Gibbons said it was just one at-bat, adding he's not concerned that his slugger might be getting a reputation.
"It doesn't help him, that's for sure," Gibbons said. "But it really hasn't been a problem this year. Today it kind of blew up but look over the season, it really hasn't been an issue. So we've just got to move on."
Bautista declined to speak with reporters after the game.
Lind still swinging hot bat
Rangers closer Joe Nathan got Edwin Encarnacion to pop up to end the game for his 19th save of the season.
"We're going through some tough times but nobody's going to feel sorry for us," he said. "We have to find a way to get wins."
Toronto looked to be on its way to a series sweep after Adam Lind hit a three-run homer in the Blue Jays' four-run third inning. But the Rangers chipped away at starter Josh Johnson and trailed by a run after five innings.
Texas scored an unearned run in the sixth off reliever Juan Perez and went ahead on Beltre's homer in the seventh off losing pitcher Neil Wagner (1-1). Murphy added a solo shot in the eighth off Dustin McGowan.
Reliever Neal Cotts (2-0) worked one inning for the win.
The Blue Jays had six hits on the day and did all of their scoring off Texas starter Justin Grimm.
Melky Cabrera reached on a two-out walk and moved to second on an infield single by Bautista. Encarnacion's single brought Cabrera home and set the stage for Lind, who took a 1-0 pitch deep for his sixth homer of the year.
Johnson held the Rangers off the board for the first three innings before Texas halved the lead in the fourth.
Johnson bothered by blister
Cruz hit a solo shot — his 15th homer of the year — and Chris McGuiness had an RBI double after a Murphy walk. Johnson got Leonys Martin to ground out with two runners on to end the rally.
The Rangers made it a one-run game an inning later.
A.J. Pierzynski doubled down the right-field line and moved to third on an infield single by Beltre. Pierzynski scored when Cruz singled to left.
Johnson got Murphy to pop up with runners on the corners to preserve Toronto's lead. The Jays right-hander allowed five hits, three earned runs and four walks while striking out four.
"He was cruising right along there and then he ripped a blister on his finger," Gibbons said. "I don't know how much more he had in him anyway but that didn't help things. But he was throwing good, but they made him work, [he threw] a lot of pitches."
Johnson said the blister was on his middle finger but it didn't burst. He expects to make his next scheduled start.
Perez came on in the sixth and put runners on the corners with one out.
Texas tied the game after catcher Josh Thole threw the ball well wide of second base on Craig Gentry's steal. That allowed Leury Garcia to trot home with an unearned run and Gentry moved to third base.
Beltre, Murphy go deep
Gentry later made a baserunning gaffe, which allowed Toronto to record a double play to get out of the inning. Elvis Andrus flared a ball into shallow centre field and second baseman Emilio Bonifacio made a nice over-the-shoulder catch for the second out.
Gentry broke for home way too early and was doubled off.
In the bottom half, Colby Rasmus hit a one-out single and Thole walked. Andy LaRoche flew out, ending Grimm's day. Cotts came on and got pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa on a strikeout.
Grimm allowed five hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out six.
Wagner replaced Perez with two out in the seventh inning. Beltre greeted him to the game by hitting his 14th homer of the season.
The Blue Jays put two runners on in the seventh inning but Lind grounded out for the third out.
McGowan came on in the eighth and Murphy took his first pitch over the wall for his eighth homer of the year. The Rangers had nine hits on the afternoon.
"They play a good brand of baseball," Gibbons said. "They pitch, they play great defence, they make some things happen. There's a reason for that."
Announced attendance was 42,722 and the game took two hours 58 minutes to play.