Jays bats fall silent in loss to Rangers
Ohka pitches into eighth but allows six earned runs
ARLINGTON -- When Toronto saw Texas pitcher Brandon McCarthy just five days ago, the Blue Jays roughed him up for five runs and chased him after only three innings. Friday night at Rangers Ballpark, McCarthy seemed like a different pitcher, limiting the Jays to two hits in six innings in a 7-1 thumping."That was a different McCarthy tonight than what was in Toronto," manager John Gibbons said following the game. "He was getting that first pitch over. The majority of the time he was getting strike one, and that's the key to everything." Lyle Overbay singled in the second inning and catcher Sal Fasano launched a solo homer to left field in the third, but Toronto could muster little else in the way of offense against McCarthy (2-4, 7.96). Meanwhile, the Rangers jumped on Jays starter Tomo Ohka early. Hank Blalock led off the second inning with a single and moved to second on an Ian Kinsler sacrifice bunt. Brad Wilkerson followed with a single and Gerald Laird plated both runners with a single to left field. In the top of the third, Fasano's homer cut the lead in half, but the Rangers knocked Ohka (2-3, 5.50) around again the bottom half of the frame. Michael Young blooped a single into center field and came home to score when Mark Teixeira doubled to left center. After a Sammy Sosa ground out, Hank Blalock, who went 3-for-4 on the night, blasted a two-run shot into the right field upper deck to make it 5-1. Ohka settled down somewhat after that, but the damage was done. "Ohka worked his way through," Gibbons said. "He finished strong. He gutted it out and he gave us what we needed. I didn't think he pitched that bad. It was those two innings, you know, boom, but we really didn't get anything going offensively."
Among the offensive highlights for the Jays was Fasano, who finished the night 2-for-4 with the home run -- his first of the year -- and a double. Overbay also went 2-for-4 and Aaron Hill added the only other of Toronto's five hits.Texas built on its 5-1 lead in the fifth, when Kenny Lofton roped the first pitch of the inning into the left field bleachers. Following that, Ohka retired eight of the next nine batters before the Rangers got to him again in the eighth. Young and Teixiera both singled, and after Ohka struck out Sosa, Gibbons made the call to the bullpen. Ohka finished the night with 10 hits surrendered in 7 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs with a strikeout and a walk. Fasano was complimentary of his battery mate for the adjustments he made during the game. "After that third inning I had a talk with [coaching pitch Brad Arnsberg] about changing the game plan, and we did," Fasano said. "And he pitched really great after that. They just came out a little too aggressive and we didn't make the adjustment right away." Brian Tallet came on in relief in the eighth and immediately surrendered an RBI single to Blalock. It was the only hit allowed by Tallet in his 2/3 of an inning and he was not charged with the run. Toronto looked like it might get something going in the ninth. Overbay doubled to right field and Matt Stairs walked. Royce Clayton grounded out to advance the runners but Fasano struck out swinging and Adam Lind grounded out to send the Jays to their fourth straight loss. "We really didn't come to play," Hill said after the game. "At least not to hit anyway. Tomo [Ohka] did a great job. We just didn't provide any run support for him." Toronto will now turn to the American League Pitcher of the Month for April to get back into the win column, as Roy Halladay will take the mound on Saturday in the second of this three-game set. "He's a streak stopper and a streak extender," said Gibbons.
Shawn Smajstrla is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.