Melk Man delivers series win over Rangers

Outfielder hits go-ahead homer in seventh, two-run single in eighth

Melk Man delivers series win over Rangers

TORONTO -- It's been a month since the Blue Jays' bats have been as lively and productive as they were in the final match of their three-game series against the Rangers.

Toronto put up 15 hits and nine runs -- something the team hasn't done since June 20 against the Reds -- in a 9-6, series-clinching victory on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

Melky Cabrera provided the boost as he swatted his 12th homer and drove in three runs to give the Blue Jays back-to-back wins for the first time since July 1-2.

"We came to life today. It was a good ballgame," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "I felt more energy in the dugout, guys were more relaxed. They've been grinding pretty hard lately and it was wearing on them."

Cabrera was 3-for-5 at the plate and finished the series 7-for-13 to pace the Blue Jays. He's hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and in 23 of his last 28.

The 29-year-old left fielder, who's played in all but one of the team's 99 games so far this season, has been a model of consistency at the plate for the Blue Jays as they near the 100-game mark.

Cabrera leads the Blue Jays with 124 hits. Gibbons said considering how much he plays, Cabrera probably benefited from the All-Star break as much as anyone. He dealt with a benign tumor near his spine that hampered him physically and limited him to 88 games in 2013.

"He's out there every day. His hand speed and bat speed looks better, and that's the key to hitting," said Gibbons. "When you're at it every day, your whole body gets tired and the hands slow down and it makes it tough to hit. He's had his issues last year with his back, but he's been the same player the last four or five years, probably."

Cabrera's offensive outburst came late on Sunday, and wouldn't have been necessary had the Blue Jays not blown a three-run lead in the sixth as starter Mark Buehrle stumbled, figuratively and literally.

Pitching with a 5-2 lead, Buehrle allowed three singles to load the bases for Texas leadoff man Daniel Robertson, who'd already cracked a two-run single in the third.

The veteran left-hander balked on his delivery to Robertson and tumbled in front of the mound, allowing Geovany Soto to score to cut the lead to two runs. It was the first time he's balked in 114 starts, dating back to 2010. Robertson then took the next pitch up the middle to score a pair of Rangers and tie the game at 5.

"The part on the rubber is a little deeper than it usually is. My cleat caught and I ate [it]," said Buehrle, who pitched six innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and three walks. "In your mind, you need to throw the ball close to [the] catcher and not get a balk, but when you're falling down, you're just trying to not get hurt. Embarrassing, but it's all part of it."

Buehrle, who shot out to a 10-1 start over his first 12 appearances, hasn't won a game since June 1, despite maintaining a 2.86 ERA to go along with his 10-6 record over 19 starts.

"He was a little off -- hadn't pitched in a while. He's a command guy, but he walked three or four; he doesn't normally do that," said Gibbons. "He was falling behind, leaving it up. But he'll be fine. Too bad he hasn't had a win in so long, because he's pitched well enough to have a few more under his belt."

Cabrera broke the tie in the seventh with a solo shot off reliever Neftali Feliz, who was saddled with the loss.

After Toronto added three more in the eighth, closer Casey Janssen, who rested on Saturday due to illness, came in for the ninth. But the game almost slipped away from Toronto again, as he gave up one run on three hits and exited with two on and two outs. Aaron Loup entered and recorded the final out for his fourth save and second in as many games.

"We just ran out of outs," said Robertson, who had a career-high four RBIs. "It was a fight. Last person standing is going to win, and I think they were the last ones standing."

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.