TORONTO (AP) – Fired up by a full house, the Toronto Blue Jays honored a former star and then finished off the Texas Rangers.
Brandon Morrow struck out a season-high 11 to win for the third time in four starts, Edwin Encarnacion homered and the Blue Jays beat the Rangers 7-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 45,629.
Toronto held a pregame ceremony to retire the jersey of Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, the first Blue Jays player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I think (the ceremony) took everybody back to a time when things were really rolling here,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “It was a great environment today.”
Alomar’s parents, former manager Cito Gaston and former teammates including Carlos Baerga, Candy Maldonado and Devon White joined the 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner on a stage behind second base. Alomar is the first player to have his number retired in the Blue Jays’ 35-year history.
“This is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Alomar told reporters after the ceremony. “To share this moment with the fans and my family is emotional.”
After allowing six runs in 3 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s loss to Baltimore, Morrow (8-5) looked sharp against the Rangers, giving up two runs and six hits in seven innings and walking two. The right-hander said he fed off the energy of the big crowd.
“It’s awesome when they fill this place up,” Morrow said. “The crowd really gets into it. I think that pumps up the guys on the field to that level that you can’t get sometimes.”
Farrell said Morrow’s slider was “devastating,” a sentiment shared by Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland.
“His slider is pretty dirty when he keeps it down,” Moreland said. “I felt that was probably what made him so effective today is when he got ahead, he could use that slider.”
Trever Miller got one out in the eighth, Casey Janssen recorded two outs and Frank Francisco finished for the Blue Jays, who have won four of five.
Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson (10-5) lost his second straight decision, allowing seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. The left-hander was also hit hard in his last outing, giving up six runs, five earned, in four innings of a no-decision against Minnesota last Tuesday.
“When you’re not able to throw the ball where you want to, it’s just an unsettling feeling,” Wilson said.
During the game, the AL West-leading Rangers obtained more help for their bullpen when they acquired right-hander Mike Adams from San Diego for minor league pitchers Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland.
The night before, Texas acquired Baltimore setup man Koji Uehara for right-hander Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis.
“We certainly helped ourselves tremendously by getting (Adams) and Koji,” manager Ron Washington said. “We certainly tightened up our bullpen.”
Uehara made his Rangers debut in the seventh and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two. The righty has tossed 16 scoreless innings over his past 14 games.
Encarnacion got the Blue Jays rolling with a two-out homer into the second deck in left in the first, his ninth.
Jose Molina reached on a throwing error by shortstop Andres Blanco to start the second and scored on a one-out single by John McDonald.
Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus came in 0 for 12 with five strikeouts since being acquired from St. Louis on Wednesday and fanned again in his first at-bat before snapping his skid with a bloop single to left in the third that skipped under the glove of Josh Hamilton for an error, sending Rasmus to second. He took third on a wild pitch and scored on Encarnacion’s double-play grounder.
Rasmus was involved again as the Blue Jays padded their lead in the fourth. Aaron Hill reached on an infield single and went to second on a grounder before scoring on J.P. Arencibia’s base hit. Rajai Davis doubled down the left-field line before Rasmus drove in two more with a booming double to center.
Morrow had set down 13 of 14 before the Rangers broke through with two in the sixth, stringing together a trio of two-out hits. Hamilton singled, Michael Young hit an RBI double to right and Mike Napoli followed with an RBI single up the middle.
Napoli hit an RBI double off Janssen in the eighth, but the Rangers couldn’t get any closer.
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