ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Toronto Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman started talking about some of the weird things about teammate Danny Jansen, and then what he does best.
“Just a guy that everybody’s rooting for and has such a unique swing, and no batting glove. It’s just everything about him is pretty unique. He’s bald, but he wears a headband, and so there’s just a lot of kind of weird things," Gausman said. "But, man, he can really hit, and he always seems to get big hits for us when we need it.”
Jansen homered for the third time in two games for Toronto's only runs, backing up six innings by Gausman to win his fourth consecutive decision, as the Blue Jays beat the slumping AL West-leading Texas Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
Martín Pérez (6-3) walked Matt Chapman starting the fifth before Jansen hit his ninth homer, a 385-foot drive that just cleared the left-field wall. Jansen has gone deep six times in his last 12 games, though it was only his fourth game since coming off the injured list Tuesday after missing 2 1/2 weeks with a left groin strain.
“His swing is on point,” manager John Schneider said. “He's in his career really, where he’s just comfortable with it, and he's always been a really good fastball hitter. You don’t really need that much of a tune up coming off the IL when you can be on top of the heater.”
A day earlier, Jansen hit two solo homers for Toronto's only runs in a 4-2 loss at Baltimore.
Gausman (6-3) struck out four to increase his AL-high total to 121 while allowing one run and four hits over six innings. The right-hander is 4-0 in his last eight starts. Jordan Romano, the third Blue Jays reliever, got four outs for his 20th save in 23 chances.
Leody Taveras homered leading off the third for the Rangers (42-27), who lost for the seventh time in nine games. It was the No. 9 hitter's seventh homer this season, all in 39 games since the start of May.
After going 9-for-49 (.184) with runners in scoring position while losing three of four in their series against the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers were 0-for-9 in that situation against Toronto.
“That's the story of the game, we just couldn't get a hit with a runner in scoring position,” Texas manager Brue Bochy said. “We're just going through a very tough patch. ... But I don't think they're doing anything different. Could they be pressing a little bit? Maybe, because they care. They want to win.”
GIVING UP LONG BALLS
Pérez has already allowed 12 homers in his 14 starts. There were only 11 long balls off him in 32 starts last season when he was a first-time All-Star. After giving up 14 runs over 15 innings his previous three starts, Pérez limited the Blue Jays to two runs on their only three hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked one.
IN THE PEN
Rangers relievers Joe Barlow, Grant Anderson and Jose Leclerc combined to retire the nine batters they faced, each throwing a scoreless inning. Barlow struck out all three batters in the seventh.
Blue Jays: RHP Zach Pop, on the injured list since May 5 with a right hamstring strain, is scheduled to throw in a game Saturday for Class-A Dunedin.
Rangers: RHP Jon Gray is expected to start the series finale Sunday. He was skipped in his last scheduled turn in the rotation Tuesday because of a blister. He is 5-1 with a 0.84 ERA in his last six starts, including 12 strikeouts in a 100-pitch complete game when losing 1-0 to St. Louis on June 7.
Texas 2B Marcus Semien had a couple of standout defensive plays. He made a backhanded stop with his momentum taking him the other way before a strong throw to get Jansen out at first to end the second inning. Semien made a sliding grab on Vladimir Guerrero's grounder up the middle in the sixth, then got up and threw him out at first.
BLUE JAYS MOVES
Toronto RHP Adam Cimber returned from the paternity list and 1B/OF Spencer Horwitz was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays optioned RHP Thomas Hatch and OF Nathan Lukes to Buffalo.
Rangers right-hander Dane Dunning (5-1, 2.76 ERA) starts the middle game of the series Saturday. The Blue Jays are going with a bullpen day.
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