ARLINGTON -- Jeff Mathis became the sixth position player in Blue Jays history to take the mound when he pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Friday.
He was the only pitcher that did not allow a run in the Rangers' 14-3 series-opening win on Friday night. Brandon Morrow allowed six runs in just two-thirds of an inning -- his shortest career start -- before Carlos Villanueva and Ryota Igarashi each surrendered a pair of runs. Then, Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam in the seventh off Jason Frasor before Mathis, who normally plays catcher, came in to pitch.
"The weirdest part was running in from the bullpen, just coming in from a different angle," Mathis said. "We're always running from the dugout, so running in from the outfield was kind of weird."
"I told [bench coach] Jackie [Moore] on the bench, 'I can go up there right now and get a knock off him,'" manager Ron Washington said. "The worst thing you want is for a player to get you out. No way. All I was yelling was, 'Pad your stats! Pad your stats!'"
After Mitch Moreland doubled to lead off the eighth inning, Ian Kinsler popped out to shortstop and Elvis Andrus drew a four-pitch walk, his third of the game. Craig Gentry and Alberto Gonzalez both flied out to left to end the inning. Despite Mathis' effort on the mound, Washington said he wouldn't use a position player as a pitcher.
"I couldn't ever do that," Washington said. "This game is about pitchers. They put themselves in that position, they can get themselves out. It might sound harsh, but that's the way it is."