A couple of tired clubs summon the energy to get back on the diamond as the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays try to keep Sunday's meeting to just nine innings as they close out a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
On Saturday the clubs were pushed to a staggering 18 innings before Rajai Davis singled to left, scoring Emilio Bonifacio with two out, to give the Jays the thrilling 4-3 victory. Unfortunately, as exciting as that game may have been, it wasn't even the longest game of the day, the honor instead going to the Mets and Marlins who battled to 20 innings.
Giving fans more bang for their buck is nothing new to the Blue Jays, who just over a week ago went to 17 innings against San Diego and played an 11-inning affair versus the Padres last Sunday as well. In fact, Toronto has now played a total of nine extra-inning affairs through the first 61 games of 2013. For the Rangers, it was their sixth contest past nine innings.
Mark Buehrle started for the Jays on Saturday, giving up just a single run on four hits and couple of walks, while striking out three through seven innings, but he was long gone by the time the meeting was finally decided. Aaron Loup was credited with the victory, his third of the campaign, as he pitched a scoreless top of the 18th. In between, Toronto ran out seven other hurlers in order to stay fresh.
Of the 15 hits produced by Toronto, four came from Adam Lind and another three by Colby Rasmus, who knocked in two runs for the hosts.
Jeff Baker and A.J. Pierzynski both had a couple of hits for Texas, the former hitting his eighth home run of the campaign along the way.
Yu Darvish made the start for the Rangers, allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks, fanning seven, but he exited after seven innings.
The fourth reliever for Texas, Ross Wolf, was saddled with the loss even though he threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run as he scattered seven hits and a walk in the team's third straight setback and the fourth in the last five outings.
"We needed one big hit, and we just couldn't get it," Rangers manager Ron Washington commented. "But I'm very proud of the job Wolf did. He did an outstanding job. That's the prototype for what a [long reliever] is supposed to do -- and he did it today."
Facing off against the Blue Jays for the first time in his young career, Justin Grimm is scheduled to take the hill for Texas Sunday afternoon.
The right-hander is hoping to put a horrendous effort the last time out behind him, surviving a mere 1 2/3 innings against Boston on the road Tuesday when he was rocked for right runs on seven hits and three walks.
Prior to the Boston massacre, Grimm had won three straight appearances.
Josh Johnson, who played the first eight seasons of his career with the Marlins, is slated to go for Toronto to close out the weekend. The right- hander, who only recently came off the disabled list and missed more than six weeks with a right-triceps injury, has yet to record a victory this season.
On Tuesday the Minnesota native limited San Francisco to two runs, just one earned, on six hits over seven innings. Johnson struck out six and didn't walk a batter for the first time in 2013, but still suffered the defeat in a 2-1 final.
In terms of his experience against Texas, Johnson has faced the club only once previously, giving up one run on four hits and fanning seven in seven innings.