TORONTO (AP) — The Texas Rangers had seemed on course for victory most of Tuesday night courtesy of Rougned Odor’s first career leadoff home run on Marco Estrada’s second pitch of the game.
Those hopes lasted until they ran up against Justin Smoak in the bottom of the ninth inning, and once again in the 10th, as the Toronto Blue Jays, who had gone 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, won 3-1.
“It’s tough, you feel like you let the team down like that,” said Phil Klein (0-1), the reliever who gave up Smoak’s two-run shot over the wall in left to end the game. “It’s hard and lonely.”
Closer Shawn Tolleson, who gave up the tying run on his third pitch in the ninth — Smoak’s first home run of the season — said it was a momentary lapse that cost him dearly.
“I got ahead of him, I made my pitches early, I was trying to go up and in with the fastball,” he said. “Just didn’t execute it, missed my spot, kind of left it over the middle of the plate and he put a good swing on it.”
Tolleson was just thankful to get out of the ninth. After Smoak, Toronto loaded the bases and it wasn’t until Jose Bautista flied out that he got out of a jam.
“I’ll probably think about it for a couple more hours then I’ll put it behind me,” he said.
It had looked oh-so different for the Rangers one inning before, with one out and runners and first and second. Adrian Beltre popped to second baseman Darwin Barney and with Odor tagging up and heading for third, Barney fired from shallow right field to find Josh Donaldson, who tagged Odor out on arrival.
While Odor gave credit to Barney for the play, manager Jeff Banister saw it differently.
“The base-running decision was not a good decision on our part, but that didn’t lose the ball game for us,” he said.
For Smoak, it was just good to hit his first two home runs.
“For me honestly, I’m just trying to get the ball in the air,” he said. “There aren’t too many hits on the ground these days with the shifts. I was able to get some pitches out over the plate today that I was able to hit out to left field.”
Joe Biagini (1-1) pitched two innings of two-hit relief for his first major-league win, completing a six-hitter.
“I just wish the Raptors weren’t playing so we could have all the attention, no, I’m kidding,” he said, referencing Toronto’s NBA team that lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Miami Heat down the road.
Texas starter Martin Perez (1-2), pitching on five days’ rest in his first regular-season game against Toronto, gave up four hits and three walks in five innings.
Estrada (2-1), who complained of a sore shoulder during his start against the Chicago White Sox last Wednesday, allowed two hits in six innings, throwing 88 pitches. He beat Texas and Perez in Game 3 of last year’s AL Division Series.
After barely a month away, the Rangers brought C Bobby Wilson back to the team once again in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for minor-league LHP Chad Bell. In five games with the Tigers, Wilson batted .154 with two RBIs after being acquired for C Bryan Holaday on March 29. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers were looking for insurance at the position with Robinson Chirinos, on the 60-day DL with a broken arm and won’t be eligible to return until June 9. The club activated Chris Gimenez from the 15-day DL and designated him for assignment to make room for Wilson on the 40-man roster.
Odor was less than impressed with the forceful tag put on him by Donaldson in the top of the eighth, but refused to make a big deal about it. Asked if the tag was too hard he said, “I think so but it’s part of the game.”
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish, who missed the entire 2015 season following Tommy John surgery, threw a 15-pitch batting practice at Globe Life Park in Arlington under the supervision of minor-league pitching coordinator Danny Clark. He’s set to make his second rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Round Rock against New Orleans.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (2-0, 3.19) makes his first start at Rogers Centre since 2014, hoping to improve on his 3-6 record and 6.97 ERA against the Blue Jays in 11 career games.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.59) makes his first career start against the Rangers.