TORONTO – Jonah Heim hit a grand slam to power the Texas Rangers to a 10-4 rout of Toronto on Monday night to end the Blue Jays’ three-game winning streak and gain ground in the American League wild-card race.
Evan Carter had a solo shot for Texas and Dane Dunning (10-6) threw six-plus innings as the Rangers took the opener of a critical four-game series at Rogers Centre.
Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt (14-8) allowed nine hits and five earned runs over 5 1/3 frames as Toronto’s lead over Texas was trimmed to just half a game.
The Rangers also temporarily pulled even with Seattle for the third and final AL wild-card spot. The Mariners were scheduled to host the Los Angeles Angels later Monday.
Cavan Biggio hit a solo homer in the ninth inning for the Blue Jays, who have lost three times in their last 11 games. The Rangers, who outhit Toronto 11-7, have won three straight.
Texas opened the scoring in the second inning in unusual fashion. With Biggio playing well off the bag at third base, Mitch Garver took a big lead down the third-base line.
Bassitt left the mound to chase him back to the base, but it was his third disengagement of the at-bat. The right-hander was charged with a balk and Garver trotted home.
Davis Schneider sparked Toronto’s two-run frame in the bottom half with a one-out single. He moved to second on a Biggio walk and scored on an Alejandro Kirk single.
George Springer singled to plate Biggio but Bo Bichette flew out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Carter tied the game in the third with a no-doubt solo shot for his first career home run.
Toronto’s defence shone on several occasions with Biggio providing a highlight moment in the fifth. He corralled a grounder, tagged Josh H. Smith as he dived back to third base and throwing across the diamond to get Marcus Semien by a whisker at first.
Carter, who reached on a single, took second on the play. He scored on a Corey Seager single as the Rangers regained the lead.
Kevin Kiermaier led off the Toronto half with a double and tried to score on a Springer single.
Carter threw a strike to home plate and Heim applied the tag as the speedy Kiermaier made a headfirst slide. The Blue Jays challenged but the call was upheld.
Texas chased Bassitt in the sixth inning. After back-to-back one-out singles, Bassitt threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score and he left after Heim’s RBI double.
Toronto scratched out a run before Texas pulled away in the seventh. Heim worked a full count against left-hander Genesis Cabrera before belting his third career grand slam.
Announced attendance was 23,451 and the game took two hours 54 minutes to play.
Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt left the game in the sixth inning due to lower back muscle spasms.
He was replaced by Spencer Horwitz in the cleanup spot.
Earlier Monday, the Blue Jays reinstated reliever Erik Swanson from the 15-day injured list.
He was sidelined after an Aug. 26 appearance due to thoracic spine inflammation. Fellow right-hander Jay Jackson was optioned to triple-A Buffalo.
Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman participated in individual infield work before the game.
He has been on the injured list since Aug. 28 with a right middle finger sprain.
Veteran pitchers were scheduled to square off Tuesday night.
Toronto has tabbed left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (3-2, 2.65 earned-run average) while the Rangers will counter with right-hander Max Scherzer (12-6, 3.91).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.
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