ARLINGTON, Texas – Corey Patterson took a big swing at a high 0-2 pitch coming at him about shoulder high — and knocked it out of the ballpark for the Toronto Blue Jays.
What Patterson called a "1 in a 100" shot was the first of three homers in a span of four batters for the Blue Jays in a fifth-inning barrage that pushed them to a 6-4 victory over the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Monday night. Tough-luck rookie starter Kyle Drabek got a much-deserved win.
Patterson's three-run blast off Colby Lewis (1-3) with two outs in the fifth was followed on the very next pitch by Jose Bautista's 405-footer to left — his majors-leading eighth homer.
"The past few games, it seems we really couldn't get anything going offensively besides Jose swinging the bat well. We definitely need to help him out," Patterson said. "It seemed like I was able to help jump-start the team."
The Blue Jays were coming off a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay and had gone 15 consecutive innings without a run until their three-homer inning.
Lewis, the Rangers postseason ace last October who has now lost his last three starts, turned and reacted in disbelief when Patterson was rounding the bases.
"When you're bitten, that's the type of thing that happens," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He tried to go up and out of the zone on him and he still hits a three-run home run. And then the rest of it happened so fast."
After pitching coach Mike Maddux visited the mound following Bautista's homer, Adam Lind drew a walk and Juan Rivera hit his first homer of the season for a 6-0 lead.
"It was good to see Corey Patterson take a pitch that might have been somewhat of a setup pitch on an 0-2 count up and away from him," manager John Farrell said. "To see the six runs on the board was obviously good to see, and we made it hold up."
Drabek (2-0), a 23-year-old rookie and Texas native, had gotten a no-decision in three consecutive starts that the Blue Jays won after he had pitched into at least the sixth. The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in six innings against the Rangers.
"It's always nice to get a win. It's a little bit more special it came in my home state," said Drabek, who had plenty of family and friends watching him pitch. "All the guys, they're really just telling me to stay relaxed. That's what I tried to do. I tried to slow the game down, stay relaxed throughout it."
Texas designated hitter Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI double off the right-field wall that made it 6-3 in the sixth. Ian Kinsler also had a run-scoring double in the inning.
Toronto entered the four-game series having lost 10 of 14 games overall, but is now 12-1 in its last 13 series openers dating to last season.
Jon Rauch worked the ninth, giving up a leadoff homer to Nelson Cruz, before closing out his fourth save in four chances.
Yorvit Torrealba homered in the bottom of the inning for Texas, right after David Murphy grounded into a double play.
"Kyle made a couple of big pitches when he had to," Farrell said. "The groundball double play to Murphy, that had a chance to kind of set things up for them. ... That has a chance to be a completely different looking inning for them."
Lewis gave up six runs and seven hits while throwing 95 pitches in five innings, with three strikeouts and four walks. He has a 6.95 ERA this season.
"I felt great," Lewis said. "I felt like tonight was the best stuff I had all year, so I can't get stuck on what happens in one inning, just move forward and take the first four and move on."
The Rangers had three double plays and got a run-saving catch from left fielder Murphy, but only the fans can grab the long balls that went into the stands.
Toronto had two on and no outs in the fourth when Lind hit a flyball slicing toward the left-field line. Murphy made a running catch with his glove fully extended, and both runners had to scurry back to the bases. Patterson was then thrown out trying to steal third.
Murphy made another nice catch in the seventh on a flyball by Patterson that turned into a double play when the relay through shortstop Elvis Andrus got Yunel Escobar before he could get back to first.
Each of Toronto's first five innings ended on grounders to Andrus, who was back in the lineup after a day off following errors in three consecutive games. Andrus went deep in the hole toward third and made strong throws to get Bautista ending the first and leadoff hitter Escobar ending the third.
Notes: Toronto most previously hit three homers in an inning last Aug. 7 against Tampa Bay. Lind, Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion had those. ... Toronto reliever Frank Francisco received his World Series ring from the Rangers before the game. Francisco spent his first six major league seasons with Texas. He made 56 appearances last year before missing the final month of the regular season and all the postseason with a muscle strain. He was traded to Toronto in January for catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli. ... Texas is 6-2 in series openers this season.