The Blue Jays-Rangers game on Saturday may have not been one of Carlos Villanueva's cleanest starting performances of the season but he still earned his manager's admiration.
The Rangers put pressure on Villanueva throughout his 5†2/3 innings on the mound, yet he kept getting himself out of jam after jam with minimum damage.
Texas got to him for single runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, but Villanueva consistently avoided the big hit.
"Once again he made some big pitches with men on base," manager John Farrell said. "He had a high number of hits (10) and there was some hard contact but he has a way of keeping a big inning from unfolding against him."
Villanueva left two runners on in the first, one in the third, two in the fourth and another in the fifth.
"Lefthanders took some good swings against him (Saturday) but still he was able to minimize the damage and spread out the hits. Once again he battled, put us in position and we turned it over to the bullpen with a lead."
Recently demoted Luis Perez has gone back into the starting rotation at triple-A Las Vegas, but as far as Farrell is concerned, that's not his future.
"We just want him to get regular work, regular bullpens in between his outings, and get regular rest. We're not converting him back to a starter, looking ahead to his return to Toronto.
"He did an excellent job when he was here. Really, we think we've found a very good lefthanded reliever. He always had a very good sinking fastball and a good slider against lefthanders. I don't think he walked a lefty and he's struck out 21 lefties he's faced in Toronto."
Perez has faced 70 lefthanded hitters, allowing a .221 batting average, with those aforementioned 21 strikeouts and not one walk.
When he arrived in Texas for this series, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia was batting .138 (13-for-94) in his previous 28 games. In the first two games this weekend, he has belted three home runs, including a pair on Friday.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Jose Bautista has hit 85 home runs to lead all MLB, 21 more than runner-up Albert Pujols. Bautista's slugging percentage over that period is .640, 35 points better than runner-up Josh Hamilton. Bautista has 141 extra-base hits in that same time period, 13 more than runner-up Adrian Beltre.