Blue Jays offence held in check by Gibson as Rangers claim rubber match
Toronto shortstop Semien's 3rd homer of season not enough to spark late comeback
Kyle Gibson rebounded from a horrendous opening day start for Texas by striking out eight over six scoreless innings, and the Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 in the rubber game of their three-game series Wednesday.
Gibson (1-0) scattered six hits with one walk while throwing 55 of 82 pitches for strikes.
"It was just nice for Gibby to get back out there and do what we expected with all of the work this guy has put in," manager Chris Woodward said. "He looked like the No. 1 today ... He kind of set the tone."
Nick Solak homered off left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-1), who struck out seven without a walk over seven innings.
"He's impressive, to see somebody pitch like that all of the time," Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He's our ace, and he gave us a chance."
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Marcus Semien hit his third homer for the Blue Jays, a leadoff shot in the eighth.
Ian Kennedy, the third Texas reliever, struck out three around a hit in the ninth for his second save, both in less than 24 hours. The 36-year-old right-hander went to spring training on a minor league deal with Texas, which then lost potential closers Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez to injuries.
✨ This is a Marcus Semien appreciation post ✨ <a href="https://t.co/VBiYSUIfUH">pic.twitter.com/VBiYSUIfUH</a>—@BlueJays
Gibson got an out against the Blue Jays on Semien's flyball to left on the first pitch, and had five strikeouts the first time through the order. Toronto had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth after Semien walked before Cavan Biggio grounded into a double play.
Woodward said he would chalk up the first game to "opening day weirdness," then added, "This is what we were expecting."
Solak led off the Rangers second with his first home run this season. Catcher Jose Trevino reached on an infield single later in the inning and scored when Leody Taveras blooped a broken-bat single to short right.
Ryu has allowed only two runs in each of his two starts, with 12 strikeouts and only one walk, but the South Korean pitcher has gotten only three runs of support.
"Overall, it was a good outing," Ryu said through a translator. "I was able to make sure the hitters got soft contact, and that allowed me to throw seven innings."