TORONTO (AP) — Whatever is written across the jersey Bartolo Colons wears, it always comes with the same letter: W.
Less than a month shy of his 45th birthday, Colon pitched seven efficient innings to earn his first win with Texas, helping the Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 Saturday.
Colon has posted victories with 11 different teams in the majors, including the Montreal Expos. He is the fourth pitcher to win with 11 clubs, joining LaTroy Hawkins, Mike Morgan and Ron Villone — no one won with more.
“It’s incredible what he’s been able to accomplish in his 40 years pitching in the big leagues,” teammate Delino DeShields joked.
This was his 241st career victory — two short of tying Juan Marichal’s mark for pitchers born in the Dominican Republic, and four from tying the record held by Dennis Martinez for most among Latin-born players.
“He’s closing in on a pretty historic mark,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “You’re knocking names down that some of these younger guys probably have to go back into the Baseball Encyclopedia to look up and see who they are and what they were.”
“It’s special, it’s our history. It’s special for me to even be part of it and see it. You may not get the opportunity to see these type of things, so you need to pay attention,” he said.
Asked about his climb up baseball’s all-time leaderboards, Colon displayed his trademark nonchalance.
“If I keep passing guys, that’s good,” he said through a translator.
Colon (1-0) gave up three runs and six hits, walking none and striking out two. He retired the first nine batters in his sixth game for the Rangers, including four starts, and he left with a 2.87 ERA.
Robinson Chirinos returned from a two-game absence to hit two solo home runs and Jurickson Profar added a two-run homer as Texas posted its season-high third straight victory.
“We have really good hitters here,” Chirinos said. “I know things are going to turn around for this team.”
Jake Diekman worked the eighth for Texas, Kevin Jepsen got two outs in the ninth and Keone Kela finished for his sixth save in as many opportunities.
Kevin Pillar homered twice and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, who have lost seven of nine, including four straight at home.
Gurriel’s homer was the first of his career. All three Toronto homers were solo shots.
Shin-Soo Choo had three hits and three RBIs for the Rangers, who have won five of seven on the road.
Profar and Chirinos hit back-to-back homers off Jaime Garcia (2-2) in the second. It was the first time this season the Rangers have hit consecutive homers.
Chirinos, who sat out Wednesday and Friday because of a sore left wrist, hit his second off reliever Seung Hwan Oh in the sixth. It was his fifth career multihomer game.
Profar homered for the first time since 2016 with a first-pitch drive off the facing of the third deck in left. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Profar entered with the fifth-longest homer drought among position players, a 227 at-bat slump. Profar has 13 career home runs.
Pillar hit a leadoff homer against Colon in the fifth and added a one-out drive off Kevin Jepsen in the ninth for his third career multihomer game.
Choo’s two-run double in the fourth ticked off the glove of center fielder Pillar, who appeared to slow up as he approached the ball, apparently fearful of a collision with left fielder Curtis Granderson.
“We definitely expect to be better than that,” Pillar said.
Colon was perfect until Granderson’s leadoff double in the fourth, but the veteran right-hander responded by getting the next three batters in order.
“He’s not the power guy he used to be but he’s a master at what he does,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He picks the plate apart.”
GLOVE SAVE AND A BEAUTY
Colon snagged Pillar’s line drive back to the mound for the final out of the sixth. The pitch was measured at 89 miles per hour, while Pillar’s liner had an exit velocity of 104 mph.
The home run horn sounded on Teoscar Hernandez’s leadoff drive to right in the sixth but the ball bounced off the base of the wall for a triple.
BURNING UP THE BASEPATHS
Hernandez’s triple was Toronto’s sixth of the season, one more than the MLB-record low they had in 2017.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (right shoulder) went 0 for 3 as the DH with Class A Dunedin on Saturday, his first rehab game. … C Russell Martin and 2B Devon Travis got the day off.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (2-2, 9.82) is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-1, 3.72) makes his sixth start of the season. Toronto has won Happ’s past four starts.