TORONTO (AP) — Derek Holland came in with a scoreless streak of 16 1/3 innings at Rogers Centre. It didn’t take long for the Toronto Blue Jays to make it a distant memory.
The Texas Rangers’ left-hander (3-2) loaded the bases on the first three Toronto batters he faced, and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a three-run double as the Blue Jays rolled to a 12-2 victory Thursday night.
Holland gave up five runs in the first and was chased in the third after giving up a two-oout, two-run homer to Encarnacion that made it 11-1.
"I’m definitely upset with that," he said after giving up the 11 runs and ond 11 hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. "It’s just one of those starts, I’ve got to hurry up and put it past me. I’m pretty pissed off with myself. I didn’t perform the way I should’ve and now I’ve got to get ready for the next start."
Encarnacion’s home run, two doubles and six RBIs did much of the damage, but the Blue Jays also set season highs for runs and hits (15). The Blue Jays were the top-scoring team in the majors last year, reaching double figures in runs 27 times.
While manager Jeff Banister admitted that Holland, who had allowed three runs or fewer and pitched five or more innings in each of his previous five starts, was having problems with his fastball and his other pitches couldn’t make up for it.
"He couldn’t find a way to get the ball down, and these guys, when you make mistakes up and over the plate these guys obviously can make you pay," Banister said.
Catcher Bryan Holaday, who, along with Prince Fielder, drove in the Rangers’ two runs, said Holland and he would have to take steps to ensure the outing doesn’t repeat itself.
"We’re going to sit down and figure it out," he said. "Obviously that’s uncharacteristic of him but they’ve got some good hitters over there."
The Blue Jays have now won three in a row and wrapped up their seventh consecutive series win against the Rangers, the team they beat in the AL Division Series last year.
Encarnacion’s home run was his 202nd as a Blue Jay, tying former AL MVP George Bell for fifth on the club’s career list. Still, for him it was about time his club broke out.
"I’m not surprised that we (reached) double digits in runs scored," he said. "We have a great offense so I think it’s just normal for us."
J.A. Happ gave up one run and six hits in seven innings. The 33-year-old has permitted no more than three runs in 16 consecutive starts since Aug. 14 last year, when he was with Seattle.
"He’s doing a tremendous job," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Tonight he gave up that run in the first and then threw up zeroes the whole way. Those aren’t easy games to pitch in when they turn lopsided. Some guys will lose that little edge a little bit. He never did."
Texas’ loss was its third straight road defeat and seventh in the last eight away from home. Though understandably concerned by the slump, Banister said his team may "have to switch up the routine a bit" to break out of its funk.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END
Holland’s short outing brought to an end the Rangers’ 28-game streak of their starters going at least five-plus innings, the longest season-opening stretch in team history. Going back to last season, the run lasted 29 games in total, tied for the team’s third-longest.
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus was given the day off to rest his sore lower back. He had played 18 consecutive games. … There is no timetable for OF Josh Hamilton to return to rehab assignment after he was removed from a game last Saturday with discomfort on his twice-operated-on left knee. He was eligible to return to the assignment Friday, but instead is working out the Texas Metroplex Institute for Sports Medicine in Arlington.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis played in the field for the first time since off-season shoulder surgery during extended spring training as the Blue Jays played the Yankees. In four innings, he handled two plays without any problems. "Shoulder feels great," Travis said. "I don’t even think about it. Getting ready for baseball." At the plate, he went 0 for 3.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (3-0, 3.30) gets the start against Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-0, 0.54) as the Rangers wrap up their seven-game road swing with a three-game set in Detroit. Hamels is coming off his shortest start as a Ranger in Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Angels, where he lasted five innings, giving up a season-high four runs and four walks.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.77) will face Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (3-1, 1.41) in the opener of a three-game interleague series in Toronto. Stroman faces the Dodgers for the first time in his career.