ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays have been winning plenty of games since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, even while the standout shortstop struggled a bit at the plate.
Now Tulowitzki is starting to heat up, and the Blue Jays are alone atop the American League East standings.
Tulowitzki had three hits, including the game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning before the go-ahead run scored on an error, as the Blue Jays rallied for a 6-5 victory at the wildcard-contending Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
“He’s starting to get some hits the last couple of games. He’s one of the best players in baseball, has been for a number of years. He had that chance tonight. Right guy, right time,” manager John Gibbon said. “He’s starting to heat up. He looks good. He’s starting to throw some line drives out there.”
Toronto is 20-4 since acquiring Tulowitzki from Colorado last month. He was hitting just .207 with the Blue Jays before five hits in 10 at-bats the last two games, and is hitting .287 overall this season.
“We know what kind of a hitter he is,” Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle said. “Obviously, we need him to get to where we want to get to.”
The Blue Jays improved to 5-1 on this trip, and have a one-game lead in the AL East after the New York Yankees lost 15-1 to Houston earlier Tuesday.
Toronto took advantage of a rare blown save by Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson (5-3) and a two-out throwing error by four-time All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Tolleson, who had converted 25 of his 26 saves before Tuesday, walked two of the first three batters he faced. After pinch-hitter Justin Smoak flied out, Tulowitzki looped a single to left to tie the game 5-5. Josh Donaldson then hit a high chopper to Beltre, who fielded the ball but made a wide throw to first.
“I just yanked it. … I knew I had time, so I wasn’t rushing or anything,” Beltre said. “I didn’t have time to grab it like I wanted to, but I had time to get the out. No doubt, this one’s on me.”
LaTroy Hawkins (3-1) gave up three singles in a scoreless eighth before Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
Chris Colabello, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion homered off Rangers starter Derek Holland, who went six innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list because of a left shoulder strain.
Buehrle, who threw a no-hitter against Texas eight years ago for the Chicago White Sox, allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings.
Toronto went ahead 3-2 in the third on Bautista’s 30th homer, a two-run shot. Delino DeShields homered to start the bottom of the inning.
Encarnacion led off the sixth with his 25th homer, extending the longest active hitting streak in the majors to 20 games.
Rougned Odor homered, had an RBI double and scored another run for the Rangers.
SURGING AWAY FROM HOME
The Blue Jays have won eight of their last nine road games, and are 30-32 away from home.
Texas still holds the AL wild card spot, but its advantage over the AL West rival Angels shrunk to a half-game after Los Angeles beat Detroit. The Rangers had their three-game winning streak snapped, but have still won nine of 12.
Blue Jays: Rookie 2B Devon Travis had another cortisone shot in his injured left shoulder after being examined Tuesday by Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister. He hopes to get back in the lineup this season. … RHP Marcus Stroman, out all season with a right knee injury, will throw another simulated game Friday. Gibbons said an earlier simulated game “went well.”
Rangers: Odor left the game after losing the fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand while warming up at second base before the start of the seventh inning.
Blue Jays: LHP David Price, 2-2 with a 7.36 ERA in five career starts at Texas, makes his fifth start for Toronto since his trade from Detroit. Price is 12-4 overall, including a 3-0 mark and 1.78 ERA for the Blue Jays.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis goes for his career-high 15th win, which would match the AL lead. Lewis has won six of his last seven starts.