Martin delivers winning hit, Blue Jays beat Rangers 4-3
TORONTO (AP) Hits have been few and far between for Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin in 2016.
His second of Wednesday night's game more than made up for all the early season misery.
Martin singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas 4-3 on Wednesday night, their second straight last at-bat victory over the Rangers.
Edwin Encarnacion singled off Tony Barnette (1-2) to begin the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera. Justin Smoak walked, Troy Tulowitzki popped up and Kevin Pillar walked to load the bases for Martin, who drove a ball beyond the reach of Nomar Mazara into the right field corner.
''I was just thinking of trying to drive the ball somehow,'' said Martin, whose two-hit effort boosted his batting average to .169. ''The end result, I'm definitely happy about it.''
Martin was mobbed behind the mound by his teammates. The Blue Jays won 3-1 in 10 innings Tuesday on Smoak's second home run of the game.
''It's huge for Russell,'' Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez said. ''Obviously, that was a huge hit. He'd been struggling to get that big hit in a key spot.''
Roberto Osuna (1-0) worked one inning for the win.
Barnette blamed poor control for the two costly walks.
''It's tough luck,'' he said. ''I lost a little bit of control. I've got to be able to keep the team in it and give them a chance. I didn't do that tonight.''
The Rangers have lost two straight after winning five of six. They are 5-8 on the road and have lost six of their past seven away from home.
''We've got to find a way to dig deep and find a little resilience here,'' manager Jeff Banister said.
Rangers relievers have nine losses this season, tied with Toronto for the most in the majors.
Texas opened a 2-0 lead in the first. Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single and Ian Desmond drove in the second run with a fielder's choice groundout.
Jose Bautista halved the deficit with an RBI single in the bottom half, but Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor made it 3-1 with an RBI single in the second.
After a visit from pitching coach Pete Walker, Sanchez set down 11 of the next 12 batters.
''He showed some poise out there,'' Martin said. ''He's really making progress. You see it almost every time he goes out there.''
Sanchez allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
''Not that the way I wanted it to start but I'll definitely take the way it finished,'' Sanchez said.
Following Bautista's first-inning single, Lewis retired 16 of 17 before the Blue Jays tied it in the sixth. Bautista drew a two-out walk and Encarnacion followed with a homer into the second deck, his fourth.
Lewis, who came in 3-6 with a 7.13 ERA in 10 starts against Toronto, allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and matched a season-high by striking out seven.
BEEN A WHILE
Martin's last game-winning play was a bases-loaded walk on June 19, 2014, that helped Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 4-3 in 12 innings.
TULO GOES LOWER
Gibbons moved the slumping Tulowitzki from fifth to sixth in the lineup. Tulowitzki went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .160.
C Bobby Wilson, acquired in a trade with Detroit on Tuesday, made his first start since rejoining the Rangers. Texas optioned rookie C Brett Nicholas to Triple-A Round Rock and traded C Chris Gimenez to Cleveland for cash considerations.
Rangers: Minor league 3B Joey Gallo (left groin) is expected to miss three to four weeks. Gallo was batting .254 with seven homers and 16 RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (3-1, 2.48) is 3-2 with a 5.15 ERA in eight career games against Toronto but 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three games at Rogers Centre.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-0, 2.76) has worked at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer in all five starts this season. He was 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts against Texas last year.