The game was decided on three home runs. The first, to lead off the game, was hit by Rougned Odor. The next two were hit by ex-Ranger Justin Smoak, a solo shot to tie the game in the 9th, and a walk-off two-run job in the 10th. That was all the scoring.
The Blue Jays (13-15) defeated the Rangers (15-12) 3-1.
- New market inefficiency: Visits to the mound. Martin Perez threw 5 shutout innings on 90 pitches (with just 46 strikes!), and looked totally uncomfortable. Rookie backstop and all-around nice guy, Brett Nicholas, must've visited Perez on the mound a dozen times over the course of his night.
- Heading into the night, Martín carried a 4.20 ERA with an abysmal 14/15 K/BB ratio in 30 IP. He exited his start with an 18/18 K/BB and a 3.60 ERA (4.89 xFIP). He is not an effective starting pitcher right now. With the abrupt rise of A.J. Griffin in the Rangers rotation, conflated by the oncoming storm that is Yu Darvish -- who could be back around the end of the month -- I don't think it would be the worst idea in the world to buy some time and put Perez on the DL for a couple weeks.
- Despite the excruciating inning-by-inning pain from watching Martin Perez labor on the hill, the Rangers were still in position to win this game after he left. Tom Wilhelmson (1 IP), Jake Diekman (0.2 IP), Tony Barnette (0.1 IP) and Sam Dyson (1 IP) went by the script and allowed 1 walk and 1 hit, striking out 4 in 3 scoreless innings. Texas entered the 9th with a 1-0 lead; Roogie's leadoff HR was it.
- Prince Fielder led off the 9th with an opposite-field double against Rule-5 pitcher Joe Biagini, and was pinch-ran for by Hanser Alberto. The next hitter, Ian Desmond, lined a single to right that was originally ruled a Jose Bautista catch, putting men on 1st and 3rd with nobody out -- statistically the best odds of generating at least one run.
- Mitch Moreland followed by grounding into a fielder's choice to 2B, cutting off Alberto at the plate, and neither Elvis Andrus nor Brett Nicholas could do anything after. The Rangers blew their chance to provide insurance to Martin Perez in a start he didn't deserve to win.
- After three scoreless innings from the bullpen, and a miraculous eight scoreless innings on the night, Shawn Tolleson entered for Texas in the 9th.
- Tolly's been brilliant since arriving to the Rangers. Heading into the 9th he had a 93.6% save rate (44/47) since joining the club. This is also to say that, in spite of that, he's probably only Texas's 3rd best reliever, and 4th if you're as high on Tony Barnette as I am. Shawn Tolleson has been great. He is one of the guys you are willing to stake a loss on if that's what it comes to, because more often then not he finds a way.
- Tonight, he didn't find a way. The first batter he faced, Justin Smoak, hit a solo HR to left-center, erasing all the good fortune presented by the first eight innings. Then he allowed a double to put the winning run on second with nobody out.
- Tolleson battled through it. After a strikeout and a walk, and another strikeout, manager Jeff Banister came out for a brief chat. I can only speculate it was in the vein of "Would you rather pitch to Josh Donaldson or Jose Bautista?" and Shawn replied "I'm a Texan. I don't pitch around anybody."
- He pitched around Josh Donaldson. He walked him on 5 pitches to load the bases. Jose Bautista then flew out harmlessly to Nomar Mazara, and all was well.
- After Texas did nothing in the top half of the 10th, Justin Smoak made quick work of Phil Klein in bottom half, depositing a walkoff shot to give Toronto the 3-1 victory. That's why the Rangers are 15-12.
- As with any loss, there is blame to go around. But it's also the beginning of May.
- Texas and Toronto are two of, maybe, six or seven teams in the American League who realistically expect to be around in October. There's a reason the Blue Jays opened the year as co-favorites in the American League (along with the Red Sox) according to Las Vegas.
- The Rangers, meanwhile, have a bullpen that's absolutely toast, and Colby Lewis is starting tomorrow. There's a good chance that there's a roster move tomorrow to get somebody up from Round Rock.