ARLINGTON, Tex. -- In a ballpark built for brawny baseball, the Blue Jays squeezed out a series win over the Texas Rangers with some exquisite small ball Thursday.
The Jays rallied for three ninth-inning runs, including one on a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt, to beat the Rangers 5-2 and win three out of four to start this 10-game road trip.
With the score tied at 2-2, one out, John McDonald at third base and Yunel Escobar at first, Corey Patterson's first-pitch bunt was placed perfectly between the pitcher and first baseman. McDonald scored the go-ahead run and Patterson reached first without a throw.
That made a winner of Frank Francisco, Toronto's third reliever of the afternoon behind starter Brandon Morrow.
Four batters into the game, Adam Lind gave Toronto a quick 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run shot into the upper deck in right, scoring Bautista, who had walked for the 25th time this season, ahead of him.
The Rangers manufactured a run in the bottom of the first, combining an Elvis Andrus single, a stolen base and an RBI-single by Adrian Beltre. They would tie the game in the third in similar fashion.
Ian Kinsler singled, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a Michael Young fly ball to right.
That was all either starter gave up. Both pitched six innings. Ogando gave up four hits, Morrow six.
Once Ogando was out of the game, the Jays loaded the bases in the seventh without a base hit. Jose Molina was hit by a pitch but was thrown out at second on an intended sacrifice bunt by John McDonald. Corey Patterson walked and then, for a few seconds, the Blue Jays saw their entire season flash before their eyes when Jose Bautista went down in a heap, hit on the hand by a Pedro Strop high-sinde 94-mph fastball.
The entire Toronto bench started breathing again when Bautista got up and trotted to first base to load the bases. The threat ended when Adam Lind struck out at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat, swinging at what appeared to be ball four.
In the ninth, after McDonald had scored, Juan Rivera put the icing on the cake when Adrian Beltre booted his routine grounder. Escobar scored on that play and then Patterson followed him home when pitcher Darren Oliver threw the ball away.