ARLINGTON, Texas – Steve Pearce homered on Cole Hamels’ first pitch of the game, Kendrys Morales added a three-run shot in the first inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 7-4 on Sunday.
Jaime Garcia (1-0) won while facing Texas for the first time in the 31-year-old’s 176th career start. The left-hander allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings, leaving after Joey Gallo’s two-run homer. The 445-foot shot down the line in right was the Texas slugger’s third of the season.
After becoming the first Texas pitcher to get the first eight outs on strikeouts in a win at Oakland in his previous start, Hamels (1-2) let four of the first five hitters reach in the left-hander’s second straight home loss. The first was on opening day.
Hamels, who started 9-1 each of the past two seasons, gave up seven runs – five earned – and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts. He struck out 11 in five innings against the Athletics.
Pearce’s first career leadoff homer soared well above the 14-foot wall in left field, just inside the foul pole. After Josh Donaldson struck out, Justin Smoak and Yangervis Solarte singled. Morales’ liner to the opposite field went into the Texas bullpen in right-centre for the switch-hitter’s first of the season.
With the bases loaded and the Blue Jays leading 7-3 in the seventh, Ryan Tepera struck out Adrian Beltre and got Gallo on an inning-ending popout . Robert Osuna retired four straight for his fourth save after hitting Rougned Odor with a pitch to load the bases in the eighth.
BARTOLO IN THE BULLPEN
Texas’ Bartolo Colon struck out four straight during two scoreless innings in his first relief appearance since 2016 with the New York Mets. The 44-year-old right-hander started the fifth game for the Rangers before Martin Perez came off the disabled list to join the rotation. It was the 10th relief appearance compared to 529 starts for Colon, who is in his 21st season.
Beltre’s double in the sixth inning was his 1,117th extra-base hit, tying him with Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the career list. … Odor was the designated hitter after his girlfriend gave birth to their daughter early Sunday morning. He was 1 for 3 with a double. … Texas rookie Carlos Tocci singled in the seventh for his first major league hit.
Rangers: RHP Tony Barnette (back) was not activated two days after throwing on consecutive nights on a minor league rehab assignment. Manager Jeff Banister said the club was still monitoring his recovery coming off those appearances. … RHP Tim Lincecum skipped a bullpen session to avoid possible irritation of his blister on a chilly day.
Blue Jays: Opening-day starter J.A. Happ (1-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his third start Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore.
Rangers: RHP Doug Fister (1-1, 3.12 ERA) makes his third start for Texas in the opener of a three-game series Monday against the visiting Los Angeles Angels. Fister is 3-4 with a 2.90 ERA in his career against the Angels.