Blue Jays Edge Rangers in Series Opener

Blue Jays Rangers
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Blue Jays 2, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Tex. (June 16) — The Toronto Blue Jays snuck past the Texas Rangers on Friday by a final score of 2–1. Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras and Blue Jays DH Danny Jansen each had home runs for their respective teams in this low-scoring affair. The good news for the Rangers is that the second-place Houston Astros also lost on Friday. They fell to the Cincinnati Reds, coincidentally by the same final score, so the Rangers maintained their 3.5 game lead in the AL West. They’ll have another chance against the Blue Jays on Saturday in the second game of this series. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Righty Dane Dunning (5–1, 2.76 ERA) will start for the Rangers. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have yet to announce their starting pitcher.

Tight Game Throughout

Friday was a low-scoring affair for both teams. The Rangers got on the board first in the bottom of the third. Leody Taveras sent one over the wall in center to put the Rangers on top 1–0. It was the seventh homer of the year for Taveras. The Blue Jays fought back in the top of the fifth. After Matt Chapman drew a walk from Rangers lefty Martin Perez, Danny Jansen hit a two-run homer to give the Blue Jays a slim 2–1 lead. That is where the offense ended for both teams on the evening.

Pitching Notes

Rangers lefty Martin Perez suffered his second loss in as many outings, despite producing a quality start. His final line was 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R-ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 95 pitches/56 strikes. Perez held the Blue Jays scoreless over his first four frames before allowing Jansen’s home run in the fifth. This marked the first homer that Pérez has allowed at Globe Life Field this season. He had not surrendered a home run in a home start since August 3, 2022, against the Baltimore Orioles. That dinger was hit by Ryan McKenna. … Friday’s loss was his first in Arlington this season. He has posted a 1.71 ERA in five starts at Globe Life Field in 2023.

Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman secured his sixth win of the season in his 15th start. His final line was 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 pitches/63 strikes. … Gausman now has 11 quality starts in 2023. He is tied for the American League lead with Framber Valdez of the Astros. He has won four out of his last five starts. … Gausman has not suffered a loss in his last eight starts dating back to May 10. He is 4–0 in that stretch. His 117 strikeouts this season are the most ever by a Blue Jay in their first 15 games of a season. The previous record was 113, and it was Roger Clemens and Robbie Ray that both reached it.  

Rough Patch for Rangers

The Rangers have lost two straight, and four of five games to open this seven-day, seven-game homestand. Prior to Friday, they lost three out of four to the Los Angeles Angels. They took the loss on Friday despite only allowing three hits. This is the seventh time in the last 10 years that the Rangers have lost when permitting three hits or fewer. … Four of their six hits went for extra bases on Friday. … One positive note is that the relief trio of Joe Barlow, Grant Anderson, and José Leclerc combined to retire all nine batters they faced. Four of those outs were strikeouts.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy kept it short and sweet in his postgame media session. When asked about whether he thought the offense was pressing, he said, “That’s the story of the game. We just couldn’t get any hits with runners in scoring position. You keep pushing though. We did get spoiled in these first months of the season when the hits and runs came when we needed them. They even came when we haven’t needed them, which is a good problem to have, but that’s just not the case right now.”

Rangers starter Martin Perez also spoke with reporters after the game. He was asked about the decision to pull him after the sixth inning, and whether he wanted to come back out for the seventh. He replied with, “I always want to go deep. I was ready for another inning, but Mike (Maddux) came to me and told me that I was done for the night. The decision was made, and I respect that.”

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