Blue Jays 5 Rangers 2
ARLINGTON, Texas — Corey Patterson dragged the ball into the perfect spot for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Patterson, who two days earlier took a big swing and homered on an 0-2 pitch at his shoulders, bunted home the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning Thursday as Toronto won its first series in three weeks with a 5-2 victory over the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.
“It definitely worked out for us. I wanted to put the bunt in the right location,” Patterson said. “I would have been fine even if they would have thrown me out.”
Darren Oliver (1-2) fielded the ball but nobody was covering the bag with first baseman Chris Davis charging to also try to get it.
“He bunted it into no man’s land,” the 40-year-old Oliver said. “I was surprised I got to it.”
Patterson got credited with a single and John McDonald, who held at third base until the ball was safely in play, scored the go-ahead run.
“Safety squeeze. (Patterson) did an excellent job. It’s one of the things we worked on extensively in spring training,” manager John Farrell said. “In that situation, left on left, first and third, good pitcher on the mound who’s good on left-handers, Corey did an excellent job with the execution and the placement and a good read by McDonald to score.”
The Blue Jays, who took three of four games in the series, then added two more runs when Texas made two errors on the same play.
Adam Lind homered again for Toronto, his third in the series and fourth of the season.
Frank Francisco (1-0), who played his first six major league seasons in Texas before being traded in January, got the final four outs. The right-hander struck out Mitch Moreland after taking over with two on and two outs in the eighth before a perfect ninth.
“I don’t really look who’s in there. I just face who I got to face,” he said. “I feel great.”
Toronto had lost four series and split another since winning two of three against Oakland from April 5-7. The Rangers, who still have a one-game division lead over the Los Angeles Angels, finished 5-5 on their homestand and have lost nine of 15 since a 9-1 start.
“We need to play better obviously,” Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “Right now, we don’t like the way we’re playing. … Offensively, we need to get better and take it on the road and try and improve.”
McDonald and pinch-hitter Yunel Escobar had consecutive one-out singles before Patterson’s bunt. After Jose Bautista drew his majors-best 26th walk and Lind struck out with the bases loaded for the second time, third baseman Adrian Beltre made his first error of the season and Oliver had a throwing error allowing another run.
Rangers starter Alexi Ogando struck out seven with three walks while allowing two runs and four hits over six innings. The right-hander had strikeouts for six of the first eight outs he got.
Brandon Morrow, making only his second start of the season for Toronto, struck out six in six innings with one walk.
Bautista walked after Ogando struck out the first two batters in the game. Lind then hit a 411-foot shot into the second deck of seats in right field that ricocheted back onto the field.
Lind, who had his third career multihomer game at Texas on Tuesday night, has 10 homers his last 14 games at Rangers Ballpark.
The Blue Jays had the bases loaded in the seventh with Lind batting after Bautista was hit by a pitch near the right wrist while bailing out of the way of a fastball from Pedro Strop coming toward his head.
Lind struck out swinging on the 10th pitch of the at-bat after fouling off five pitches.
Bautista, the AL batting leader at .360, also had two nice defensive plays in right field, catching a slicing liner in the fifth and then making a lunging catch near the line in the eighth. He fell over and twisted his body against the wall after making the second catch.
Texas got a run in the first when Elvis Andrus had a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a single by Adrian Beltre.
Kinsler had a single and stolen base before scoring on Michael Young’s sacrifice fly in the third to tie the game 2-2.