Published May 02, 2012
TORONTO – Promoted to the leadoff spot, Kelly Johnson provided the Toronto Blue Jays with some extra pop at the top of the order. Edwin Encarnacion, meanwhile, provided the same power he's been showing all season.
Encarnacion hit a three-run homer, Johnson added a two-run drive and Toronto beat Texas 11-5 Wednesday, giving the Rangers consecutive losses for the first time this season.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell flipped Johnson and Yunel Escobar in his lineup, bumping Johnson up to leadoff for the first time this season.
Johnson scored twice and Escobar had three hits in the two-hole, including a bases-loaded triple.
"Sometimes you put a guy in a different slot and all of a sudden they have a different view and maybe a fresh start and it worked out today," Farrell said.
Johnson said facing the AL's top team was as much of a boost as the change in batting order.
"Any time you play these teams that are really good, there's a different vibe and a different feel," Johnson said. "When you beat them and you beat them in a series, it gives you a big boost. It gives you a high."
Texas, which blew a 5-0 lead and lost 8-7 on Brett Lawrie's walkoff homer in the ninth inning Tuesday, has not won a series north of the border since sweeping a two-game set in April 2008.
"It looks real bad when you lose one you should have won the night before and then you've got to face a Ricky Romero," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I didn't really feel like he was at his best but we just couldn't hold their offense down. We had to score 12 today to win."
Romero (4-0) won for the fourth time in five starts, giving up five runs and six hits in eight innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out a season-high six.
Joel Carreno, recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas before the game, pitched the ninth for the Blue Jays.
Matt Harrison (3-2) allowed eight runs — tying his career high — and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings. He has given up 15 runs over 8 1-3 innings in his last two outings.
"I've just got to do a better job of putting guys away and not giving out free passes," Harrison said.
The left-handed Harrison retired six of the first seven batters before running into trouble.
Brandon Snyder put Texas ahead in the second with his first career homer, but Johnson gave Toronto the lead in the third with his sixth homer, a two-run drive.
Then in the fourth, J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run double, Escobar tripled and Jose Bautista greeted reliever Scott Feldman with a sacrifice fly.
Texas closed in the fifth after Romero walked the bases loaded. Elvis Andrus hit a two-run double, Michael Young singled in a run and Napoli hit a sacrifice fly.
Encarnacion homered off Feldman in the sixth, his ninth of the season.
"Edwin is just continuing to carry us," Johnson said. "We needed to answer back and he answered back big right there."
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton missed his third straight start because of a sore back, and Adrian Beltre sat out for the second straight game. Hamilton ran on the field and hit in the cage before the game.
"I hope to have them back in that lineup (Friday)," Washington said. "They're quite important."
Napoli, who left Tuesday's game with vision problems in his right eye, visited a doctor before the game and was diagnosed with an ocular migraine, or a spasm in the eye. He started at first base and reported no problems.
NOTES: The Blue Jays optioned LHP Evan Crawford to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Carreno. ... Blue Jays minor league OF Travis Snider (right wrist) has been placed on the seven-day DL with lingering soreness. ... Harrison also allowed eight runs at Minnesota on July 19, 2008. ... Hamilton was named AL player of the month for April and RH Yu Darvish was named AL rookie of the month. ... Rangers GM Jon Daniels said minor league OF Leonys Martin will have surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and will miss 6 to 8 weeks.