Travis hits grand slam, Blue Jays beat Rangers 7-6
TORONTO (AP) — Devon Travis celebrated the return of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki with one big swing for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Travis hit his second career grand slam, and Toronto beat the Texas Rangers 7-6 on Friday night for its fourth consecutive victory.
Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales also connected, and Aaron Loup (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win.
Texas has lost four straight, matching its longest slide of the season. The Rangers, who are 8-17 on the road, held a brief team meeting following the game.
Travis went 3 for 4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He homered off A.J. Griffin in the second, doubled in the fourth, and singled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.
“He’s got a pure stroke and he’s elevating the ball right now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
After Rougned Odor cut the gap to one with a three-run homer off Joe Smith in the ninth, Roberto Osuna came on and struck out Mike Napoli for his eighth save.
Tulowitzki had been out since April 21 with a strained right hamstring, while Donaldson went down on April 13 with a sore right calf.
“You can’t explain the presence those guys bring,” Travis said. “When those guys step in the clubhouse and you see their names on the lineup card, you know it’s business. We’ve got our team back, it’s nice.”
Donaldson finished 1 for 4 with a double. Tulowitzki went 1 for 2 with a single and two walks.
“It was nice to get out there and help right away,” Donaldson said.
Gibbons said Donaldson and Tulowitzki will not be in the starting lineup for Saturday afternoon’s game.
Griffin (4-2) was forced to leave in the second after suffering a strained left intercostal muscle. The right-hander, now winless in three starts, allowed three runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. It was the Rangers’ shortest start of the season.
“It got pretty tight there that last batter,” Griffin said. “It felt more like a cramp earlier on in the game. Sometimes those come and you can just pitch through them. It just kept tightening more and more, grabbing more and more.”
Austin Bibens-Dirkx replaced Griffin and pitched four innings.
The Rangers put Griffin on the 10-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Dillon Gee from Triple-A Round Rock. Griffin will undergo an MRI when the Rangers return home Monday.
Toronto also got a grand slam from infielder Ryan Goins in Wednesday’s win at Milwaukee. The last pair of Blue Jays to hit grand slams in consecutive games was Brad Fullmer and Raul Mondesi, who did it April 20 and 21, 2001.
Travis, who has a major league-best 18 extra-base hits this month, broke Aaron Hill’s 2009 record for extra-base hits in a month by a Blue Jays second baseman. Hill had 16 in September 2009.
RANGERS CAN’T CAPITALIZE
Texas went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. “Anytime you have that ratio, it becomes a challenge,” manager Jeff Banister said.
Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus stole two bases in the fifth, giving him 250 for his career.
CUTTING DOWN THE Ks
One day after becoming the sixth team in major league history to strike out 20 times in a nine-inning game, the Rangers racked up eight strikeouts. Outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Delino DeShields each fanned twice.
FIRST OF A KIND
Griffin lost to Toronto for the first time in six career meetings.
To make room for Donaldson and Tulowitzki, Toronto optioned right-hander Cesar Valdez and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. to Triple-A.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre (right calf) went 4 for 6 with a double in six innings in an extended spring training game. He will play six innings again Saturday, his third rehab game, and could return Monday.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (elbow) made his first rehab start with Class A Dunedin on Thursday. Happ allowed three runs and seven hits in three innings. ... LHP Francisco Liriano (shoulder) will make a rehab start with Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.83 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his past six starts. The Rangers are 7-3 in his 10 starts this season, winning six straight.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (3-2, 3.30 ERA) is 3-1 in five May starts. He struck out a season-high 12 in his previous outing, a May 21 victory at Baltimore.
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