TORONTO — Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver smashed three-run homers to lift the Texas Rangers over the Blue Jays 10-0 on Wednesday and deal Toronto’s post-season hopes a serious blow.
The Blue Jays (80-66) have dropped the first three games of their four-game series with Texas. The loss put Toronto a full game behind the Seattle Mariners for the third and final wild-card spot in the American League.
Seattle had a two-run fifth inning to edge the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 earlier Wednesday.
Robbie Grossman had a two-run homer as Texas (81) won its fifth straight game. Jonah Heim and Josh Smith added RBI singles.
Jordan Montgomery (9-11) was solid, striking out three and giving up four hits and a walk over seven innings. Relievers Martin Perez and Ian Kennedy preserved his shutout.
Yusei Kikuchi (9-6) pitched five innings, giving up six runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Bowden Francis, Jordan Hicks, Genesis Cabrera, and Chad Green came out of Toronto’s bullpen.
Blue Jays all-star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., finally got a hit in the first inning after starting the pivotal series 0 for 8 at the plate with four strikeouts. Even then, his first hit of the series was a little lucky.
Guerrero bounced the ball to Montgomery, who misplayed it, and then Rangers shortstop Corey Seager dropped the ball, allowing the Toronto first baseman to reach base on what was ruled a basehit.
Heim got Texas on the board in the fourth. Seager led off the inning with a walk, and Grossman followed that up with a single. After a Garver popout, Heim singled to deep left field to score Seager from second.
Lowe then cleared the bases in the next at bat, crushing a three-run homer 420 feet for a 4-0 Rangers’ lead. His 16th home run of the season came on an 89.3 m.p.h. slider from Kikuchi with a 106.4 m.p.h. exit velocity.
Grossman tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning with a moon shot of his own. He looped an 83.9 m.p.h. curveball to deep left field for his 10th of the season. That homer travelled 391 feet with an exit velocity of 100.7 m.p.h. and scored Seager to make it 6-0.
Texas didn’t let up in the sixth, with Carter’s single to deep right giving Lowe ample time to run home. Smith, who pinch hit for Jonathan Ornelas, got caught in a run down between second and third, saving Toronto from an even longer inning.
As Guerrero flied out to end the sixth — dropping him to 1 for 9 in the series — some of the 25,495 fans at Rogers Centre started to boo.
Those jeers grew louder in the ninth when Garver launched a 95.2 m.p.h. four-seam fastball from Green to deep centre, cashing in Carter and Grossman for a double-digit lead.
Fans booed the Blue Jays off the field after the final out of the ninth.
MAX OUT — Rangers right-hander Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the regular season because of a strained muscle in his shoulder. Rangers general manager Chris Young said it was unlikely Scherzer would be able to pitch in the post-season if Texas qualifies. The 39-year-old Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, left Tuesday’s game at Toronto in the sixth inning. He does not require surgery.
CHAPPED — Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman participated in hitting, running and infield drills for the second day in a row. Chapman has been on the injured list since Aug. 28 with an inflamed right middle finger.
ON DECK — Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman (11-8) will start for Toronto as it closes out its four-game series with Texas.
Nathan Eovaldi (11-4) will take the mound for the Rangers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press