Published April 30, 2012
TORONTO – Yu Darvish won his third straight start, Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry homered and the Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Monday night.
Darvish (4-0) allowed his first home run but remained unbeaten in five major league starts. He gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, walked two and struck out nine.
In winning his past three starts, Darvish has allowed just two earned runs over 21 2-3 innings against Detroit, the New York Yankees and Toronto. His season ERA is 2.18.
Mike Adams worked the eighth and Joe Nathan finished for his sixth save in seven chances.
AL West-leading Texas won for the 17th time in April, matching the 1989 team for the second-most victories in the season's opening month. The Rangers won a record 18 April games in 1998.
Texas slugger Josh Hamilton was held out of the lineup with a sore back. Hamilton, who leads the AL with nine home runs and 25 RBIs, left Sunday night's loss to Tampa Bay in the third inning with back spasms. He is day to day.
Moreland and Gentry, the eighth and ninth hitters in Texas' lineup, swatted back-to-back solo shots off rookie left-hander Evan Crawford in the seventh, giving Darvish some extra cushion.
It was the third time this season the Rangers have hit consecutive home runs. Moreland's homer was his third while Gentry's drive was just his second in 213 career at-bats over parts of four seasons, and his first to clear the fence: His only other one was as an inside-the-park homer against Seattle last Sept. 23.
Texas opened the scoring in the second when Adrian Beltre led off with a double and scored one out later on a double by Nelson Cruz. The Rangers added one more in the third when Ian Kinsler drew a one-out walk and scored on Elvis Andrus' RBI double.
Darvish didn't allow a hit until the fourth but when he did, it was a big one. After being hit on the left elbow by a pitch in the second, Edwin Encarnacion responded by lining a two-out solo homer to left, his eighth of the year and fourth in four days.
It's the second time in his career that Encarnacion has homered in four straight games, something he also did in the final four games of 2010. Following his leadoff single in the seventh, Encarnacion had reached safely in nine straight plate appearances dating to Saturday, recording five hits, walking twice and twice being hit by a pitch. The streak ended when he struck out in the ninth.
The hard-luck loser was Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek, who dropped his second straight start. Drabek (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out a career-high eight, including five straight during one stretch.
NOTES: Darvish threw 97 pitches, 62 strikes. ... Kinsler's run in the third was his AL-leading 24th, setting a Rangers record for April. ... Citing Toronto's artificial turf, Rangers manager Ron Washington started Beltre at DH, with Michael Young taking over at third base. ... The Blue Jays turned their major league-leading 31st double play. ... Attendance was 21,945.