Arlington, TX – Edwin Encarnacion's two-out double in the top of seventh snapped a tie game and lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in the opener of a four-game set.
Neal Cotts (2-1) put a runner on third, and Tanner Scheppers took over on the mound and walked Jose Bautista. Encarnacion then ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap past a diving Leonys Martin and both runners came home to put Toronto ahead for good.
"I was just looking for my pitch, a fastball," Encarnacion said. "He's a great pitcher, so I was looking for something in the strike zone, and I was aggressive right from the beginning."
Casey Janssen preserved the lead with a perfect ninth to notch his 14th save and send Toronto to its fifth victory in seven contests.
Esmil Rogers (2-2) picked up the victory with seven innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits and walked just one.
Yu Darvish struck out nine and scattered three hits and one run over seven innings, but went a fourth straight start without factoring into the decision. Nelson Cruz's homer accounted for Texas' only offense.
"We know we can do a lot better than we've done," said Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre. "We haven't done that lately in these last 10 games or so."
Scoring opportunities were far and few between, with Darvish retiring the last 10 batters he faced and Rogers giving up only a single over his final three innings of work.
The Blue Jays were able to capitalize as soon as Texas manager Ron Washington went to his bullpen in the eighth. Emilio Bonifacio reached on a throwing error from Beltre to start the frame and moved to third following a bunt and groundout.
Bautista then got on with a walk prior to Encarnacion's go-ahead hit. Martin, whose diving attempt fell short, injured his wrist on the play and was forced to leave the game. X-rays were negative and he's considered day-to-day.
Texas struck first in the second when Cruz parked an offering from Rogers into the right field seats, but Toronto countered in the top of the third.
Bonifacio walked to start the frame and move up a base when Darvish walked Munenori Kawasaki. Melky Cabrera then sent a grounder into right field to plate a run and tie the contest at 1-1.
After stranding David Murphy at second base in the first inning, Texas never had another runner in scoring position the rest of the game ... It was Cruz's 16th homer of the season ... Toronto had just four hits ... Texas has lost three in a row and six of its last eight.