The Toronto Blue Jays aim for their third straight win and the fourth in the last five outings Saturday afternoon as they host the Texas Rangers in the second portion of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Despite recent success, the Blue Jays are still in a deep hole in the American League East standings, all alone in last place as the only club in the division with a losing record at home (15-16).
However, last night the squad managed to produce a 6-1 victory in the series opener, a scoring advantage which has been uncommon for the most part this season seeing as how the squad is the only one in the AL East with a negative scoring differential (minus-32) to this point.
Melky Cabrera connected on his third home run of the season, one of his three hits in the meeting, as he knocked in two and scored twice for the hosts. Edwin Encarnacion also tallied a couple of hits as the team made a total of six hits stand up in the contest.
Toronto starter Esmil Rogers made it through just four innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk as he fanned six. One of four relievers, Neil Wagner was credited with the victory as Jays hurlers struck out a total of 13 batters.
"They've been on a nice little roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the bullpen. "We have some different ways we can attack you with some lefties and some righties. They're kind of feeding off themselves right now."
Texas starter Nick Tepesch was saddled with the loss, charged with all six runs scored by the home team on a mere five hits. Tepesch made it through seven innings, walking a pair and striking out six as the Rangers dropped one- half game off the pace in the AL West, having lost two straight while the division-leading Oakland A's have produced three consecutive wins.
Jurickson Profar scored the only run for the Rangers, but he also struck out three times as the first four batters in the Texas lineup accounted for a combined nine K's.
Heading to the hill for the visitors Saturday afternoon is Yu Darvish, searching for his first win in three weeks. The right-hander, who enjoyed a five-game win streak between April 19-May 16, has failed to earn a decision in either of his last two outings.
On Sunday, Darvish matched up against Kansas City at home and threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a couple of walks, while striking out six, but did not pick up the victory in the 3-1 triumph.
As for the Jays, they have Mark Buehrle penciled in as their starter. The left-hander has been beaten up on a regular basis this season, winning only one of his last nine appearances.
Last weekend Buehrle was knocked around for 10 hits by San Diego, leading to four runs -- three earned -- over the course of six innings in a 4-3 setback.
Selected in the 38th round of the 1998 draft by the Chicago White Sox, Buehrle has a career record of 12-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 20 games versus the Rangers.
Texas won the season series in 2012 by a 6-3 margin, although the teams did split the six matchups played in Canada.