ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Bo Bichette homered for the fifth time in the last four games, Danny Jansen hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning and the playoff-contending Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas 4-3 on Friday night, when top Rangers prospect Josh Jung hit a home run in his first career at-bat.
Bichette’s 23rd homer was a two-run shot in the third inning that put the Blue Jays up 3-0. He also drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder in the first.
After the Rangers tied it at 3 on Corey Seager’s RBI double in the eighth, reliever Jose Leclerc (0-2) issued a leadoff walk in the ninth. Raimel Tapia then stole second base, went to third on a long flyout and scored on Jansen’s hit.
Tim Mayza (6-0), the fourth Toronto pitcher, got two outs in the eighth before Jordan Romano worked the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances. With a runner on second, the right-hander Romano struck out Jung and got pinch-hitter Adolis Garcia on an game-ending flyout.
The Blue Jays, who maintained a 4 1/2-game lead over Baltimore for the American League’s third and final wild-card spot, won for the 16th time in their last last 22 games. They have won 13 of their last 15 road games, including three of four against the Orioles in their series before getting to Texas.
The only runner allowed by right-hander Ross Stripling the first two times through the Texas lineup was Jung’s homer leading off the third inning.
Second baseman Marcus Semien, in the first year of a $175 million, seven-year contract, had a two-out double in the sixth off Stripling to extend the longest active on-base streak in the majors to 20 games. Seager followed with an RBI single to snap an 0-for-25 slump for the All-Star shortstop in the first season of his $325 million, 10-year deal.
Jung, the the eighth overall pick out of Texas Tech in the 2019 draft, is expected to finish this season as the primary third baseman for the Rangers. He might have earned that opportunity in spring training, but needed surgery in February to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He was called up after six homers in 23 games at Triple-A Round Rock the past month.
The Blue Jays opened the game with back-to-back infield singles, along with a throwing error by starter Dane Dunning. Bichette then hit a grounder fielded by Jung on the run before his quick backhanded flip for a forceout at second.
Bichette, who added a triple in the eighth before Brock Burke struck out consecutive batters, had three homers in the second game of a doubleheader Monday at Baltimore, then went deep again Tuesday.
The only other Texas batter to homer in his first MLB at-bat was Jurickson Profar at Cleveland in 2012. … Jung is the seventh player to make his big league debut this season for the Rangers. He is the third player to do so at third base.
THE SKY ABOVE
The retractable roof at Globe Life Field was open for the first time since April 30. The Rangers had played 54 home games in a row with the roof closed since their 3-1 win over Atlanta more than four months ago. It was 87 degrees at first pitch.
Blue Jays: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. Gurriel was hurt when hustling to beat out a double-play grounder in their series finale at Baltimore.
Rangers: García was out of the starting lineup for the second game in a row. He is still sore after coming down awkwardly when leaping at the wall on Jose Altuve’s homer in Houston on Tuesday night. … .INF/OF Brad Miller was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hip strain, creating an opening roster spot for Jung. Miller hadn’t played since Aug. 31.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman (11-9, 3.12 ERA) has gone 3-0 over his past four starts — and the Blue Jays have won each of those games. RHP Kohei Arihara (1-2, 5.29) makes his fourth big league start since Texas brought him up from Triple-A Round Rock on Aug. 16.
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