Happ, Blue Jays hold off Rangers
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - J.A. Happ tossed six strong innings as the Toronto Blue Jays took the opener of a three-game set against the Texas Rangers, 3-2.
After allowing eight runs over his first two starts with Toronto, Happ (2-1) tossed his first quality start as a Blue Jay. He gave up one run on two hits and struck out eight to earn the win.
Edwin Encarnacion slammed a two-run home run, his 31st of the season, as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game skid.
Yu Darvish (12-9), who beat the Blue Jays in two prior starts this season, took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in seven innings. The rookie struck out 10 for the seventh time this season and only walked one.
The Rangers only picked up four hits on the night and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
After Kelly Johnson worked a walk in the first inning, Encarnacion slammed a hanging slider into the left-field seats to give Toronto an early lead.
From there, Happ was dominant. He matched a Jays record by striking out six straight Rangers over the second and third innings and did not allow a hit until the fifth.
Soon after Michael Young picked up the Rangers' first hit, he scored their first run. David Murphy followed Young with another base hit and Geovany Soto advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice. Craig Gentry's groundout plated Young and closed the gap to one in the fifth.
The Blue Jays quickly got the run back. Anthony Gose picked up his first major league triple and scored on Rajai Davis' base hit, putting the Jays up 3-1 after five.
Texas scored an unearned run in the seventh. Adrian Beltre worked a leadoff walk against Steve Delabar then went to third on Murphy's one-out single. After Soto struck out and pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz walked, Brandon Lyon induced a ground ball by Ian Kinsler, which Omar Vizquel misplayed, to plate Beltre.
Lyon, Aaron Loup and Brad Lincoln combined to get through the eighth and Casey Janssen tossed a perfect ninth to earn his 16th save.
Texas has lost four of its last five games ... The Rangers are 4-3 against Toronto this season ... Darvish has struck out 22 in 19 innings against the Blue Jays this season ... Encarnacion has hit two home runs against Darvish this season.