ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth inning and stunned the Rangers with a 6-5 victory on Tuesday night. The Blue Jays, with their fourth straight win, are now 15 games over .500 for the first time since 1993 and in sole possession of the American League East lead thanks to the Yankees' loss to the Astros.
"We caught a break there. I don't think I've ever seen Beltre throw a ball wide, so we definitely caught a big break there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's one of the best ever. Things are going our way, that's really the only way I can sum it up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Tulo gets it done: The Blue Jays were down to their final out in the top of the ninth inning when Tulowitzki stepped to the plate with runners on first and second. He had been in this position before during his brief time in Toronto, but unlike in that series against the Yankees, Tulowitzki found a way to come through when it mattered the most. He lifted a ball to left field that dropped in front of Will Venable as pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera came around to score. One batter later, Toronto scored the go-ahead run when Beltre's throw across the diamond took first baseman Mitch Moreland off the bag.
"We faced him, actually, earlier this year, when I was with Colorado, so I knew his pitches," Tulowitzki said of Tolleson. "Obviously, he was missing, 3-2, I knew he had to challenge the strike zone. He doesn't want to walk me right there and then face [Josh Donaldson] with the bases full." More >
DeShields goes deep again: DeShields has two Major League home runs, and they have come in his last two games at home. On Tuesday night the Blue Jays took a one-run lead in the top of the third on a two-run home run by Bautista, but DeShields responded quickly for the Rangers in the bottom of the third with a leadoff home run that tied the score and halted any possible momentum for the Blue Jays.
The 30 club: Bautista reached the 30-homer plateau with a two-run shot to left field in the top of the third inning. It marked the fourth time in Bautista's career that he hit at least 30 home runs, and his second in as many years. The four times with 30-plus homers is tied for second in franchise history with Encarnacion and Joe Carter; Carlos Delgado ranks first, having done it eight times. Bautista's latest shot was projected by Statcast™ to travel 410 feet, and it left his bat at 104 mph.
Rangers miss breakout: The Rangers, leading 5-4, had a chance to break open the game but missed the big hit in the seventh and eighth. They left five runners on base in those two innings while going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The hit was a two-out single in the eighth by Bobby Wilson, but Moreland was held at third by third-base coach Tony Beasley rather than test Bautista's arm in right. That left the bases loaded, but Venable grounded out to end the inning.
"We have been really good at that," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We have been good at adding on runs and giving our late-inning guys some room. It just doesn't always work out that way."
"This one is on me. I lost this game today. But we can't sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We have to forget about this one and come back tomorrow and try to win the series." -- Beltre
"I pitched [terrible] tonight, and the guys picked me up. Good thing about being a team game. I had to battle through the first four, five innings and got us in a hole. Seems like every time I got us in a hole, we would come back and score a few runs, I'd go right back up there and give it back up. As a starting pitcher, it's one of those things you don't want to do, and it's frustrating." -- Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle, who surrendered five runs over six innings
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Encarnacion is riding a 20-game hitting streak, a career high. He's hitting .405 with nine doubles, six homers and 19 RBIs over that span. Toronto also has homered in 15 consecutive road games, extending its franchise record.
Toronto's late rally improved its record to 4-49 when trailing after eight innings.
ODOR LOSES FINGERNAIL
Odor had to leave the game after six innings when he lost the fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand. He was hit in the bare hand fielding Kevin Pillar's hard grounder to end the sixth, and it ripped off the nail. He underwent precautionary X-rays; the results were negative.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Left-hander David Price makes his fifth start for the Blue Jays when he pitches against the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. ET in Arlington. Price is 2-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rangers. That's his highest ERA against any American League team.
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis pitches against the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Arlington. Lewis, who is 10-2 with a 4.05 ERA in his last 15 starts, is going for his career-high 15th win.