Blue Jays ride big innings, cruise past Rangers

Blue Jays ride big innings, cruise past Rangers

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' high-powered offense finally lived up to its billing by scoring early and often against left-hander Derek Holland in a 12-2 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.

Edwin Encarnacion led the way with a 3-for-4 night, which included a home run, two doubles and six RBIs. Kevin Pillar also enjoyed a three-hit night with a pair of doubles, while everyone in Toronto's starting lineup had at least one hit except Jose Bautista and everyone but Justin Smoak scored at least one run.

The 12 runs and 15 hits were season highs for the Blue Jays, who did most of their damage off Holland. Texas' starter surrendered five runs in the first and six more in the third before he was chased from the game in his shortest outing since April 10, 2015, vs. Houston.

"It's definitely a good feeling. Everyone in the starting lineup contributed, everyone was able to get on base, drive in a run, do something to help, and it's been a long time coming," Pillar said. "We've faced a lot of tough lefties in here, and that's been our M.O. the last couple of years -- we don't let lefties get out of here unscathed. To be able to put up crooked numbers in two innings is good for this team."

Left-hander J.A. Happ picked up the easy victory for Toronto by allowing one run over seven strong innings. He scattered six hits and one walk with five strikeouts en route to his sixth quality start in as many outings this season. Happ's only real trouble came in the first inning, when he surrendered a pair of singles, which included an RBI by Prince Fielder.

Happ's excellent start

"We pitched them well for three games," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was one game where we didn't pitch well, and we didn't put enough offense on the board."

Bat-around inning: Toronto didn't waste any time at all getting to Holland. The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the first inning for Encarnacion, who then came through with a bases-clearing double to right-center field. Russell Martin and Ezequiel Carrera added RBI singles as Toronto sent 10 batters to the plate and took an early 5-1 lead. It was the first time this season the Blue Jays scored at least three runs in the first.

Blue Jays score five in the 1st

"We were a little strapped tonight in the bullpen, so it gave those guys a night off," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Games like this, they always help. Every game is a little breather."

Pitching woes: Coming off six scoreless innings against the Angels, Holland struggled against the Blue Jays, and they knocked him out of the game in the third. Holland loaded the bases with one out before giving up a two-run double to Pillar. After an RBI forceout by Bautista, Holland left a first-pitch sinker up in the zone, and Encarnacion hit a three-run home run to knock out the 29-year-old lefty and give the Blue Jays an 11-1 lead. It was the first time in 30 games a Rangers starting pitcher didn't go at least five innings, dating back to 2015. More >

Holland ends the 1st inning

"I felt great coming out of the bullpen," Holland said. "I missed spots, missed location, and all in all, it was just a terrible performance by myself."

Easy Eddie: Encarnacion's three-run homer in the third inning tied him for fifth on the franchise's all-time list with George Bell. Carlos Delgado (336), Jose Bautista (248), Vernon Wells (223) and Joe Carter (203) are the top four. The three-run shot also gave Encarnacion six RBIs on the night for the third time in his Blue Jays career. That also tied a franchise record with Bell and former first baseman Adam Lind. More >

Encarnacion's six-RBI game

"I don't know how many strikeouts we had. Did anybody notice? Is anybody going to ask me that question?"
-- Gibbons playfully asked the media after the game. Toronto didn't strike out at all, but it entered the game with the second most in the American League.

This was the first time in 30 games this season that the Blue Jays scored at least 10 runs in a game. At the same point last year, Toronto had six games with at least 10 runs.

The Blue Jays have won three consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 27-30, 2015.

Rangers: Left-hander Cole Hamels (3-0, 3.30 ERA) gets the call for the Rangers in the first game of their three-game series against the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park at 6:10 CT. Hamels had his worst outing of the season last time out against the Angels, going five innings and giving up four runs on seven hits in a 9-6 loss.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.77 ERA) will take the mound on Friday night when the Blue Jays open a three-game home series against the Dodgers at 7:07 ET. Stroman has never faced Los Angeles before, but he is coming off his best outing of the season. In that outing against the Rays, Stroman struck out a season-high nine batters and allowed just one run over eight innings.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for and covered the Rangers on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.