via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — Steve Pearce settled into the batter’s box on Sunday for his first plate appearance with the mindset of getting after Rangers starter Cole Hamels right away. The last thing the Blue Jays’ left fielder wanted was for Hamels to get in any sort of early groove.
When it came time to swing, Pearce wasted little time, hammering the first pitch he saw deep over the left-field wall for his first career leadoff home run. That, along with Kendrys Morales’ three-run drive four batters later, set the tone in Toronto’s 7-4 victory at Globe Life Park.
It was Pearce’s second homer in as many games. He also belted a solo shot in the sixth inning of Toronto’s 5-1 loss Saturday.
“You don’t want to wait around with him, because he has the stuff that puts you away,” Pearce said of Hamels, who has allowed five homers in 16 innings this season. “You want to attack him early. That was the mindset and that’s what I did.”
Hamels worked 5 1/3 innings and yielded seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks. The loss left the right-hander 0-5 with a 6.54 ERA in eight career starts, including three in the postseason, against the Blue Jays.
Toronto starter Jaime Garcia held the Rangers to three runs in 5 1/3 innings to earn his first win. He had a 7-1 lead going into the sixth before his day ended on a one-out double by Adrian Beltre, followed by a two-run homer from Joey Gallo.
A throwing error by shortstop Elvis Andrus set up two unearned runs for the Blue Jays in the sixth. Luke Maile had a one-out RBI double, and Curtis Granderson drove him in with a two-out single.
“Top to bottom, we’ve been getting good production, for the most part, from everybody — some big hits along the way, even the guys that aren’t really swinging the bat well yet,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We feel good about that.”