Blue Jays 6, Rangers 4

Corey Patterson took a big swing at a high 0-2 pitch coming at
him about shoulder high – and knocked it out of the ballpark for
the Toronto Blue Jays.

What Patterson called a ”1 in a 100” shot was the first of
three homers in a span of four batters for the Blue Jays in a
fifth-inning barrage that pushed them to a 6-4 victory over the AL
West-leading Texas Rangers on Monday night. Tough-luck rookie
starter Kyle Drabek got a much-deserved win.

Patterson’s three-run blast off Colby Lewis (1-3) with two outs
in the fifth was followed on the very next pitch by Jose Bautista’s
405-footer to left – his majors-leading eighth homer.

”The past few games, it seems we really couldn’t get anything
going offensively besides Jose swinging the bat well. We definitely
need to help him out,” Patterson said. ”It seemed like I was able
to help jump-start the team.”

The Blue Jays were coming off a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay and had
gone 15 consecutive innings without a run until their three-homer
inning.

Lewis, the Rangers postseason ace last October who has now lost
his last three starts, turned and reacted in disbelief when
Patterson was rounding the bases.

”When you’re bitten, that’s the type of thing that happens,”
Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”He tried to go up and out of
the zone on him and he still hits a three-run home run. And then
the rest of it happened so fast.”

After pitching coach Mike Maddux visited the mound following
Bautista’s homer, Adam Lind drew a walk and Juan Rivera hit his
first homer of the season for a 6-0 lead.

”It was good to see Corey Patterson take a pitch that might
have been somewhat of a setup pitch on an 0-2 count up and away
from him,” manager John Farrell said. ”To see the six runs on the
board was obviously good to see, and we made it hold up.”

Drabek (2-0), a 23-year-old rookie and Texas native, had gotten
a no-decision in three consecutive starts that the Blue Jays won
after he had pitched into at least the sixth. The right-hander gave
up three runs and five hits in six innings against the Rangers.

”It’s always nice to get a win. It’s a little bit more special
it came in my home state,” said Drabek, who had plenty of family
and friends watching him pitch. ”All the guys, they’re really just
telling me to stay relaxed. That’s what I tried to do. I tried to
slow the game down, stay relaxed throughout it.”

Texas designated hitter Michael Young extended his hitting
streak to 15 games with an RBI double off the right-field wall that
made it 6-3 in the sixth. Ian Kinsler also had a run-scoring double
in the inning.

Toronto entered the four-game series having lost 10 of 14 games
overall, but is now 12-1 in its last 13 series openers dating to
last season.

Jon Rauch worked the ninth, giving up a leadoff homer to Nelson
Cruz, before closing out his fourth save in four chances.

Yorvit Torrealba homered in the bottom of the inning for Texas,
right after David Murphy grounded into a double play.

”Kyle made a couple of big pitches when he had to,” Farrell
said. ”The groundball double play to Murphy, that had a chance to
kind of set things up for them. … That has a chance to be a
completely different looking inning for them.”

Lewis gave up six runs and seven hits while throwing 95 pitches
in five innings, with three strikeouts and four walks. He has a
6.95 ERA this season.

”I felt great,” Lewis said. ”I felt like tonight was the best
stuff I had all year, so I can’t get stuck on what happens in one
inning, just move forward and take the first four and move
on.”

The Rangers had three double plays and got a run-saving catch
from left fielder Murphy, but only the fans can grab the long balls
that went into the stands.

Toronto had two on and no outs in the fourth when Lind hit a
flyball slicing toward the left-field line. Murphy made a running
catch with his glove fully extended, and both runners had to scurry
back to the bases. Patterson was then thrown out trying to steal
third.

Murphy made another nice catch in the seventh on a flyball by
Patterson that turned into a double play when the relay through
shortstop Elvis Andrus got Yunel Escobar before he could get back
to first.

Each of Toronto’s first five innings ended on grounders to
Andrus, who was back in the lineup after a day off following errors
in three consecutive games. Andrus went deep in the hole toward
third and made strong throws to get Bautista ending the first and
leadoff hitter Escobar ending the third.

Notes: Toronto most previously hit three homers in an inning
last Aug. 7 against Tampa Bay. Lind, Aaron Hill and Edwin
Encarnacion had those. … Toronto reliever Frank Francisco
received his World Series ring from the Rangers before the game.
Francisco spent his first six major league seasons with Texas. He
made 56 appearances last year before missing the final month of the
regular season and all the postseason with a muscle strain. He was
traded to Toronto in January for catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli.
… Texas is 6-2 in series openers this season.