Rangers-Blue Jays Preview
Toronto has had its way with Colby Lewis throughout his career with the Texas Rangers. The right-hander's next matchup comes after the Blue Jays rallied late for what they hope is the beginning of a turnaround - especially at home.
After finally putting some runs on the board at Rogers Centre, Toronto looks to beat up on Lewis again in the third of a four-game series Wednesday night.
The Blue Jays (13-15) were three outs away from being shut out and losing their fifth straight at home for the first time since Sept. 1-13, 2013, before Justin Smoak's leadoff home run in the ninth inning tied Tuesday's game and ended a 14-inning scoreless streak for the team.
Smoak then hit a two-run homer in the 10th to give Toronto, which had scored seven runs - five in one game - during the home skid, a 3-1 victory. Smoak entered with no home runs after hitting 18 last season.
"We were due," manager John Gibbons said. "How many innings did we go without scoring one run there then Smoaky put us on the board. It was a battle."
Lewis (2-0, 3.19 ERA) can win his first three decisions for the first time since 2012, but he's gone 3-6 with a 7.13 ERA in 10 starts against Toronto.
Lewis also faced the Blue Jays in Game 4 of last year's American League division series and allowed one run in three innings of relief.
Including that playoff matchup, Smoak (7 for 16 with two home runs and a pair of doubles), Jose Bautista (4 for 13 with two homers and nine walks) and Kevin Pillar (4 for 5 with a home run) have done the most damage when facing Lewis.
Bautista is 0 for 12 with six strikeouts while leaving 11 on base over the last three games, but Pillar is batting .393 over his past eight.
Texas (15-12) had won five of six before Shawn Tolleson blew his second save in 11 chances. The right-hander blew two saves in 37 opportunities last season.
"I'll probably think about it for a couple more hours then I'll put it behind me," he said.
Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.59) is coming off his best start of the season for Toronto, and he's been dominant in four of his five outings. The right-hander bounced back from allowing career worsts of six runs and 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings of an 8-5 loss to Oakland on April 22 by pitching seven scoreless innings to beat Tampa Bay 6-1 on Friday.
He gave up two of the six hits against him to the first two batters he faced before settling down.
"I knew they were going to be aggressive," Sanchez told MLB's official website. "But when I have the ball on the ground like that, that's something you just have to tell yourself, 'Hey, stick with it, stick with it, stick with it.'
"That's kind of what I did all night."
Sanchez made six relief appearances against Texas last season - five in the ALDS - and went 1-0 without allowing an earned run over 5 2/3 innings.