Jays break out brooms in extras
Burnett gets no-decision as Toronto sweeps in Texas
ARLINGTON -- Facing his first Major League hitter since April 14, 2007, Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan gave up a triple to Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd.
After that, though, Ryan showed why the Blue Jays shelled out $47 million for him before the 2006 season.
Ryan retired the next three batters to record his first save in more than a year, lifting Toronto to a 5-4 win in 10 innings and sweep over Texas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It marked the Blue Jays' first sweep in Texas since 1985.
"It wasn't the prettiest thing ever, but the bottom line is, you get it done," Ryan said. "You make some pitches when you have to with your back against the wall. It was a good outcome."
Said Jays manager John Gibbons, "It wasn't easy, but it's a great sign to see B.J. do it like he has before. It's been a long layoff. He's a special guy that just looks intimidating standing out there. It was an awesome, awesome day."
Ryan entered the game after the Blue Jays took a one-run lead in the top of the 10th. Joe Inglett, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, turned in the game-winning sacrifice fly off Rangers reliever Dustin Nippert to score Marco Scutaro, who was pinch-running for Frank Thomas.
With that, Ryan jogged in from the bullpen hours after being activated after missing nearly 12 months recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament reconstructive surgery.
Byrd spoiled the start, however, by tripling to left-center field. But Ryan got David Murphy to ground out, Milton Bradley to pop up and Gerald Laird to fly out. When right fielder Alex Rios hauled in Laird's flyout, Ryan gave several fist pumps, celebrating his first save since April 11, 2007, against the Royals.
"I could've started better, but it wasn't a terrible pitch to Byrd," said Ryan, who lives about 20 minutes from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "He hit it well. But being in a tight game -- extra innings on the road -- it felt good."
It was a back-and-forth game all day with the Rangers taking a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh inning. All of the Rangers' runs came at the expense of Toronto starter A.J. Burnett.
Burnett appeared to be on his way to a quality start, but faltered in two-out situations late, giving up RBI hits to Ian Kinsler in the fifth and Frank Catalanotto in the sixth. He left the game after 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
"I thought A.J. was so-so," Gibbons said. "He was a little inconsistent. I thought he could've used his breaking ball better. We're talking about B.J., but really the whole bullpen was outstanding today."
To get to Ryan, the Blue Jays used relievers Jeremy Accardo, Scott Downs, Brian Wolfe and Jesse Carlson, who earned the win.
The offense did its part too. Trailing 4-3 heading into the seventh, Matt Stairs led off with a single to right and David Eckstein pinch-ran for him. Eckstein advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Aaron Hill and eventually scored on Rios' sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4.
Rod Barajas, who was on the Rangers from 2004-06, drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Jays before leaving the game in the sixth with an irritated left groin.
"It's nice to help out and do anything I can," Barajas said. "I have fond memories here. My groin is a little sore, but right now, I don't think it's anything serious. We'll find out tomorrow though."
Outside of Barajas' setback, Gibbons didn't have anything to complain about. His team completed the sweep, is tied for first in the AL East and his recently activated star closer earned his first save.
"We couldn't have scripted this one any better," Gibbons said.
Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.