TORONTO (AP) — Yu Darvish paid a high price for making one bad pitch to Toronto’s top hitter.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 31st home run, J.A. Happ won his second straight start and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Darvish and the Rangers 3-2 Friday night, handing Texas its fourth loss in five games.
“He was good,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Darvish. “We just didn’t support him with runs.”
Darvish (12-9) lost for the second time in three starts, allowing three runs and three hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out 10.
“From the beginning, I don’t think my fastball had a lot of life to it,” Darvish said through a translator. “But more often than not I was able to keep the ball down with my cutter, slider, all my other pitches. Overall, I think I was able to stay down and be effective.”
For Darvish, it was the seventh time this season he’s reached double figures in strikeouts, tying him with Jim Bibby (1973) for the Rangers rookie mark.
Darvish failed to win consecutive starts for the first time since a three-game winning streak in June, but allowed three earned runs for the second straight start after giving up 18 runs in his previous three outings.
“I was able to throw with confidence tonight,” Darvish said. “Even if I fell down 2-0 I didn’t panic. I was able to relax and make my pitches.”
Encarnacion, who became the first major leaguer to homer off Darvish when he took him deep in an April 30 Texas win at Rogers Centre, did it again with a second deck blast in the first, his 31st.
Rangers catcher Geovany Soto said location was to blame on Encarnacion’s homer, with Darvish leaving a pitch up in the zone.
“Only one (bad) pitch to a guy that’s having an unbelievable season,” Soto said. “It was just that one pitch, too. After that he had a really impressive outing. He was pounding the zone with his fastball and he was accurate.”
Encarnacion returned to the lineup after sitting out Thursday’s loss to the White Sox with a sore shoulder and wrist, the result of a diving play in left field Wednesday.
Happ (2-1) matched a Blue Jays record by striking out six straight batters in the second and third innings. Ted Lilly struck out six straight against Boston in 2004, and Marc Rzepczynski did it against the New York Yankees in 2010.
“I just wanted to throw everything with conviction, along with the cutter,” Happ said. “Sometimes I don’t quite throw that with enough conviction. Tonight I was able to.”
Happ gave up one runs and two hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to him,” Washington said. “If it was one of our pitchers that did it, I’d be raving.”
Steve Delabar and Brandon Lyon each got two outs, Aaron Loup struck out the only batter he faced, Brad Lincoln got the final out of the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Held without a hit through the first four innings, Texas got on the board in the fifth. Michael Young and David Murphy led off with back-to-back singles and both runners moved up on Soto’s sacrifice before Young scored on Craig Gentry’s RBI groundout.
Toronto restored its two-run lead in the fifth. Anthony Gose tripled on a broken bat hit that dropped in front of a diving Gentry in center and scored on Rajai Davis’ single.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a triple on a broken bat before,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “Some kind of electrifying speed with Gose on the basepaths.”
Darvish was upset with himself for not bailing Gentry out by keeping the third run off the board.
“That’s a time where I have to back him up,” he said. “The fact that I couldn’t do it was very upsetting.”
Davis stole second and third but was left stranded when Kelly Johnson struck out.
Texas cut the gap to 3-2 with an unearned run off Delabar in the seventh. Third baseman Omar Vizquel made a fielding error on Mike Olt’s bases loaded grounder, allowing Adrian Beltre to score. Lyon came on and ended the inning by getting Ian Kinsler to ground into a fielder’s choice.
“We had some chances for a base hit to make a difference,” Washington said. “If we had made the difference with one base hit, it would have been our victory, I feel.”
NOTES: Rangers RHP Ryan Dempster is not with the team and will miss his scheduled start Saturday for personal reasons, the team said. Recently demoted starter Roy Oswalt will start in his place. … Texas OF Nelson Cruz (right hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup but came on as a pinch hitter in the seventh. Beltre, who is also nursing a sore hamstring, started at DH for the Rangers. … Toronto OF Jose Bautista (left wrist) took the day off Friday after hitting in the cage the past two days. Bautista, out since July 17, is expected to take part in full batting practice Saturday and Sunday before beginning a rehab assignment. … Farrell had little to say about reports that he is a candidate to take over as manager of the Boston Red Sox. “I’m under contract here,” said Farrell, who served as Boston’s pitching coach from 2006 to 2010. “I’m not going to comment on speculation and conjecture.”