Blue Jays start strong, hold on to beat Rangers
Barney's homer caps off 6-run 1st inning; Pearce hurt chasing inside-the-park home run
Darwin Barney's two-run homer capped a big first inning and was just enough for the Toronto Blue Jays to earn a victory — and again get within one game of their first .500 record this season.
Still, the shot by Barney over the left-field wall that capped a quick six-run outburst in a 7-5 win Wednesday night wasn't quite as exciting as Rangers slugger Joey Gallo's drive that ricocheted off of it for an inside-the-park homer.
"It went up, I looked back to find the wall and when I looked back to find the ball again I had no idea where it was," said Blue Jays left-fielder Steve Pearce, who crashed hard into the wall trying to make the play — and left the game an inning later with a bruised right knee.
Joey Gallo, inside the park home run to deep third base. <a href="https://t.co/TH6LcexSXV">pic.twitter.com/TH6LcexSXV</a>—@PitchingNinja
Ryan Goins drove in three runs for Toronto, including a two-run double in the first that preceded Barney's homer off Tyson Ross . Barney was 4 for 40 in his previous 15 games.
In the series finale Thursday, Toronto (35-36) will try for the ninth time this season to get to .500.
Gallo's 19th homer, an opposite-field shot leading off the fifth, was among his career-high three extra-base hits — he also had two doubles and scored three runs. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound slugger was 6 for 50 over his previous 14 games before a night off Tuesday.
"As soon as it hit the wall and he went down, I thought I might have a chance at scoring. It was pretty exciting," Gallo said.
"Day down I think freshened him up a little bit," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's always fun to watch a big man like that run around the bases...It's fun to watch when this guy is swinging the bat well."
Joe Biagini (2-6) struck out five in 5 2/3 innings for his first win in seven starts since May 12.
At 22 years, 134 days old, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a> Roberto Osuna becomes the youngest pitcher in MLB history to record 75 saves—@SNstats
Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 19th save. The right-hander has converted his last 18 chances since consecutive blown saves in late April.
Ross (1-1) threw 41 pitches in the first and allowed seven runs over three innings in only his second start since signing with Texas as a free agent in January. San Diego's opening day starter in 2016 missed the rest of the season because of right shoulder issues, then was out to start this season while recovering from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Goins' RBI groundout in the third put Toronto up 7-0, before Shin-Shoo Choo's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.
Gallo doubled again in the sixth and scored on a two-run single by Delino DeShields, the last Texas hit.
"They just kept creeping back; we scored early," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We took advantage of the kid in the first."