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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, May 18th (All times eastern)
Toronto Blue Jays (23-21) at Texas Rangers (20-23), 3:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - R.A. Dickey (4-3, 4.19) Texas - Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.38)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Blue Jays shoot for the three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers when the clubs collide at Globe Life Park in Arlington this afternoon.
The Jays, just a half game out of first in the American League East Division entering play on Sunday, trail both Baltimore and New York, have put together a three-game win streak and have taken five of the last six overall, thanks in part to a 4-2 victory yesterday in the Lone Star State.
Toronto hitters showed great patience at the plate as they worked a total of eight walks, two each by Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, the latter also delivering on his 11th home run of the season. Along with Kevin Pillar and Bautista, Brett Lawrie picked up a pair of hits, yet still struck out three times.
Mark Buehrle made the start for the Jays, but was not around to celebrate the win as he lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, while striking out four. Instead, it was Steve Delabar who was credited with his third win in as many decision, while Casey Janssen posted the save for the visitors.
"I just have a good feeling, the guys are feeling good out there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons noted. "We've been playing some pretty good baseball all year if you want to know the truth. But to win some tight games, and it's tough to win on the road too, those kind of ball games, that's big for us."
Like Buehrle, Texas starter Robbie Ross Jr. was long gone before the final out was recorded, although he permitted just s single run on three hits and four walks through 4 1/3 innings. Further down the line, Neal Cotts was charged with the loss, his third in four decisions.
Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas each had two hits at the bottom of the Texas lineup, with the latter and Michael Choice each knocking in a run.
"Our pitching staff needs some support," Adrian Beltre said after the Rangers third baseman came up hitless in four trips to the plate. "They've been pitching really well last couple games and there's nothing to show for it. It's something that as a team you have to deal with it and find a way how to get out of it."
In news off the field for the Rangers, it was announced that Prince Fielder would miss several games due to a herniated disc in his neck. The slugger has a mere three home runs in 150 at-bats this season and is hitting just .247, far below his career average of .285.
Taking aim at his fourth straight win for the Jays this afternoon will be right-hander R.A. Dickey. The Tennessee native last took the hill on Tuesday when he clashed with Cleveland at home, coming away with his fourth victory in seven decisions on the campaign.
In that meeting Dickey allowed four runs, just two earned, on four hits and a pair of walks, while striking out six through six innings.
Now in his second year north of the border, Dickey has a career mark of 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five lifetime appearances against Texas, the team that he began his major league career with in 2001.
Countering for the Rangers will be rookie hurler Nick Martinez, prepping for just his eighth major league appearance and first all-time versus Toronto. The right-hander, who issued three walks in each of his first three outings back in April, has settled down this month with just two bases-on-balls in five appearances.
His latest contest took place on Wednesday as he tossed 1 1/3 innings versus Houston, allowing two hits and one run, while striking out two in a loss.
Texas, which is currently second-to-last in the AL West standings, seven games out of first, has dropped six straight and eight of the last nine encounters with the Jays.
05/18 10:20:31 ET
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