Guzman has tiebreaking hit, Gallo homers, Rangers beat Jays
TORONTO (AP) — Eleven games into his big league career, Ronald Guzman is displaying the poise of a veteran in pressure situations.
Guzman hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the sixth inning, and the Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Friday night, winning a series opener for the first time in nine tries.
Joey Gallo homered and scored twice and Nomar Mazara had three hits and two RBIs as the Rangers won back-to-back games for the second time this season. Texas, which beat Oakland 4-2 on Wednesday, won consecutive 10-inning games at Houston on April 14 and 15.
Guzman broke a 4-4 tie with a single to left off Marcus Stroman (0-3), driving in Gallo and Mazara.
“He had a heck of a night tonight,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
The rookie first baseman said he’s quickly learned to concentrate more on his own approach rather than concern himself with who’s on the mound.
“The first couple of games I got lost a little bit because I was thinking too much about the pitcher, giving him maybe too much credit,” Guzman said. “I’m thinking more about myself. The last couple of games, that’s what I’ve been able to do, stick to my plan, make them throw my pitch.”
Mike Minor (2-1) allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings to win for the first time in three starts. Minor walked none, struck out four and retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
“Mike did a great job controlling damage,” Banister said.
Kevin Jepsen got two outs and Alex Claudio got one, Chris Martin worked the eighth and Keone Kela finished for his fifth save in five opportunities.
Justin Smoak had the second four-hit game of his career but was thrown out twice on the bases for the Blue Jays, who have lost six of eight.
Stroman allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, and has given up at least four earned runs in all five starts this season. His ERA rose from 8.55 to 8.88.
“I want to get back to being elite,” Stroman said. “I’m a little off right now. Just doing everything I can to get back to where I need to be.”
The Rangers jumped on Stroman with a four-run first. Mazara hit a two-run single and Gallo followed with a drive to left, his eighth.
“To put up four against Stroman is huge,” Mazara said.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons isn’t fretting about his ace.
“He’s not going to be happy with the results, but I’ve seen progress the last two games,” Gibbons said.
Smoak hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first, but the inning ended when he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Kevin Pillar’s two-out double. Smoak was also thrown out in the third when he tried to go from first to third on Yangervis Solarte’s single.
“We didn’t help ourselves on the bases tonight,” Gibbons said.
Steve Pearce hit a two-run double in the second, and Toronto tied it when Pillar tripled in the third on a broken-bat hit that bounced over Gallo’s head in left.
Stroman lost his left shoe as he broke to cover first on Jurickson Profar’s grounder in the third, but didn’t break stride and recorded the out.
Kela needed only five pitches to wrap it up in the ninth. Aledmys Diaz and Pearce each flied out on the first pitch and Teoscar Hernandez struck out looking at three straight pitches.
FOUR AND MORE
After starting 13-0 in games where they scored at least four runs, Toronto lost its second straight four-run effort. The Blue Jays lost 5-4 to Boston on Thursday.
Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos (left wrist) sat for the second straight game but is expected to return to the lineup Saturday and Sunday. The Rangers were off Thursday, meaning Chirinos will have had three days of rest once he returns. ... Texas activated RHP Tony Barnette (back) off the 10-day disabled list and optioned RHP Jose Leclerc to Triple-A Round Rock.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson threw to the bases Friday at Toronto’s spring training facility in Florida and will DH for Class-A Dunedin Saturday. ... RHP John Axford was reinstated from the bereavement list and LHP Tim Mayza was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Rangers: RHP Bartolo Colon (0-0, 2.59) is 7-4 with a 4.68 ERA in 15 starts at Toronto, including three complete games.
Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (3-1, 3.72) has allowed at least one home run in each of his four starts this season.
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