Blue Jays edge Darvish, Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays batter Edwin Encarnacion celebrates his two-run home run against the Texas...

Toronto Blue Jays batter Edwin Encarnacion celebrates his two-run home run against the Texas Rangers with teammates in the dugout during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto August 17, 2012. (REUTERS)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

TORONTO - There is one constant at the Rogers Centre.

The score does not matter.

Some games, like Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, fans could care less what is transpiring ... they want to see a third strike.

No one takes their eyes off the outfield scoreboard once a Jays starter gets close to seven strikeouts.

For any time Friday or Sunday if a Jays pitcher records seven strikeouts the music starts:

“When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie ... That’s amore.” And everyone gets a free slice of pizza.

Give us free food or give us a winner?

Which is more important.

J.A. Happ, new to the Rogers Centre, fanned lead-off hitter Ian Kinsler and then struck out the side in both the second and third innings to give the

26,816 at the Rogers Centre both on Friday.

A 3-2 win over the Rangers and a free slice.

“That’s as good as a three innings as you’ll see anywhere,” said manager John Farrell. “He was in complete command outside them bunching a couple of singles in the fifth.” Young man missed When people discuss the worst trade in Jays’ history there are some

candidates: Sending catcher Allan Ashby (who caught 965 games from 1979-89) to Houston for Mark Lemongello (1-9, 6.29 ERA with the Jays before being

demoted) moving John Olerud (1,324 hits after he left the Jays) to the New York Mets for right-hander Robert Person (who won eight games, saved eight), moving David Wells (90 wins after he left) to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Sirotka (who never threw a pitch) ... What about Esetban Loaiza (25 wins in parts of three seasons) to the Rangers for Young? Young, 35, has 2,186 career hits in 1,782 games for the Rangers ... Young may have lost a bit of extra-base power (58 extra-base hits in 2011, when he hit .338, 24 this season). His current streak of homer-less at-bats is at 344. Young ranked 134th out of 143 major-league qualifiers in OPS at .645 (.854 OPS last year).

In Game

Edwin Encarnacion hit Yu Darvish’s 12th pitch of the game to left for a two-run homer. Kelly Johnson had walked ahead of Encarnacion’s 31st homer.

Encarnacion is 5-for-8 with two homers in three games against Darvish.

Encarnacion walked in the ninth, his 60th of the season, one shy of his career high. Speed helps Anthony Gose broken-bat into centre field in the fifth ... was maybe 210 feet from home plate. Craig Gentry attempted to make a diving catch and the ball kicked off his glove. Gose was a blur, speeding all the way around to third on a triple, likely the shortest one he has ever hit. “That’s some kind of electrifying speed,” Farrell said. He scored from third when Rajai Davis hit a two-out single to centre. Gose also stole his ninth base ...

Davis then proceeded to steal second and then third on successive pitches.

Davis had best not get into the habit of stealing on back-to-back pitches as Robbie Alomar used to. Alomar stole second against Mitch Williams in the

1993 World Series. Williams stepped off before throwing the next pitch and threw out Alomar easily at third. Phillies scouts Ray Shore and Jimmy Stewart noticed the tendency with Alomar.

Happ 1-2-3-4-5-6

Happ strung off a row of six straight whiffs. First he got Adrian Beltre swinging at a 2-2, 90 m.p.h. fastball, then Young swinging at a 1-2 92 m.p.h. fastball and finally David Murphy on a 3-2 92 m.p.h. fastball, after falling behind Murphy 3-0. So, 16 pitches 10 strikes to strike out the side ... In the third innings, he caught Geovany Soto looking at a 91 m.p.h.

fastball, Gentry watching a 2-2 93 m.p.h. fastball and No. 9 hitter Mile Olt swung through a 3-2 92 m.p.h. fastball. Again 16 pitches, 10 strikes to strike out the side. And that made seven. Cue the music. The Jays crack P.R.

staff was combing the record books to see if anyone else had ever caused.

Yu-who

Darvish whiffed 10 Jays to move into the record books with Jim Bibby of the

1973 Texas Rangers. Both had seven games of 10-plus strikeout games ... Happ was the third Jays pitcher to strike out six hitters in a row. Ted Lilly fanned David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, Doug Mirabelli, Bill Mueller, Gabe Kapler and Mark Bellhorn in a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox Aug. 23, 2004. And Marc Rzepczynski struck out Curtis Granderson, Francisco Cervelli, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in order in a 7-5 Jays win over the Yankees Sept. 27, 2010 ... In all, there were 23 strikeouts on the night with umpire Tim Tschida working the plate.


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