Slow start damaging for Blue Jays in defeat to Rangers

Isiah Kiner-Falefa enjoyed a fine evening, and had a career-high four RBIs, as the Texas Rangers evened their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays with an 8-5 win on Saturday evening in Texas.

Kiner-Falefa delivered a three-run triple in the second inning and a run-scoring fielder’s choice during the third to help Texas to an 8-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Nomar Mazara homered, and Logan Forsythe drove in two further runs for the Rangers. They had previously lost 1-0 over 12 innings during the series opener on Friday night.

Also, Rowdy Tellez and Billy McKinney each had two hits. Furthermore, Eric Sogard had two RBIs and scored twice, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in his first MLB run for the Jays.

Meanwhile, Texas starter Lance Lynn went six innings, and allowed five runs and eight hits. Also, he struck out three and walked five.

The Blue Jays brought left-hander Thomas Pannone out of the bullpen to make a start, and he gave up seven runs, five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Lynn got the first two batters out in the beginning. But walked Justin Smoak and Randal Grichuk out on nine pitches. However, Guerrero then drove in Smoak with a single to the left for a 1-0 lead.

Mazara hit a hanging curve into the second in the right with two outs in the first to level the scores at 1-1.

However, Pannone then walked three of the first four batters in the second to load the bases. Kiner-Falefa then hit the gap in the right-centre field for a triple. This gave the Rangers a 4-1 lead.

Elvis Andrus then drove in Kiner-Falefa with a single to make it 5-1.

After Smoak hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2, Pannone fell into trouble again in the third inning. He gave up two straight singles to start the inning. Before getting pulled for Derek Law. He loaded the bases with a one-out walk.

Forsythe chimed in with two runs. Before Kiner-Falefa drove in his fourth run on a fielder’s choice for a comfortable 8-2 lead.

“I see the results pay off a little bit,” said Kiner-Falefa, who was converted from a middle infielder as a rookie last season with Texas. “But I still have a long ways to go. Especially when you’re working so hard, you want to see small victories. And today was a big one for me.”

“He didn’t have his command, and he was off from the beginning,” Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We have to give him a little bit longer because of what we had in the bullpen.”

The Blue Jays got three runs back in the fourth on a two-run triple by Sogard, who then scored on a groundout by Freddy Galvis to make it 8-5.

Meanwhile, Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

“Baseball is crazy,” Guerrero said through interpreter Hector Lebron. “That was like nine years ago, Smoaky and I are here now playing together. It feels great. I feel very happy with myself about my first RBI. Hopefully, there will be many, many to come.”



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