TORONTO — Yovani Gallardo kept his own good streak going and in the process snapped a bad one for the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers’ right-hander stretched his shutout streak to 23 1/3 innings on Saturday and his teammates hit three home runs to snap a six-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It was a great win, period,” Gallardo said. “We haven’t played the way we’ve wanted to the last week and to come out and get the win, it was big for us.”
The Blue Jays won the opener of the series, 12-2, on Friday.
“Against this ball club, the first time they’ve been shut out in their ball park, against a group of guys that have been hot, and the performance they put together last night, anytime you get an outing like that from your pitcher, when you’re on a six-game skid, you can call it a stopper-type performance,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Gallardo (7-6) allowed three hits, two walks and struck out four in 8 1/3 innings.
“He was picking us apart pretty good,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was primarily pitching off his fastball, he did throw some cutters and occasionally some off speed pitches.
“He was getting the strikes and then he’d expand.”
First baseman Mitch Moreland, catcher Robinson Chirinos and second baseman Rougned Odor each
led off an inning with a home run against left-hander Matt Boyd, who was called up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his major-league debut.
Boyd (0-1) allowed nine hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven before being replaced by right-hander Todd Redmond.
His seven strikeouts equaled a club record for a starter making his major-league debut. The three home runs matched the club record for a starter making his debut.
“When I got hurt, it was when the ball was up when I was behind in the count,” said Boyd, who earned another start. “I wasn’t nervous, I was excited.
“The first three innings I was kind of coming out of my delivery a little bit, a little bit jumpy, but more than anything it was excitement. It’s definitely something to build on.”
Added Gibbons: “I thought he did a great job out there, being a debut. You never to know what to expect when somebody’s making their debut, but he’s a confident guy.”
The Rangers (38-37) took a 1-0 lead in the second when Odor hit a sacrifice fly to left after singles by shortstop Elvis Andrus and center fielder Joey Gallo put runners at the corners.
Moreland crushed his 10th home run of the season to right center on a 3-and-1 pitch to lead off the fourth.
The Blue Jays (40-36), who had a walk by right fielder Jose Bautista in the first inning, did not have a hit until two out in the fourth, when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion singled.
The Rangers extended the lead to 3-0 when Chirinos led off the fifth with his seventh home run of the season.
Odor led off the seventh with his third home run of the season, a drive down the right-field line that was barely fair.
After Encarnacion’s single, Gallardo retired the next 10 batters before catcher Russell Martin led off the home eighth with a walk. But left fielder Chris Colabello grounded into a double play.
Center fielder Kevin Pillar kept the eighth going when he singled to center to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games. Gallardo ended the inning on a groundout to third by second baseman Devon Travis.
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson singled with one out in the ninth and right-hander Shawn Tolleson replaced Gallardo to finish the game on Bautista’s double-play grounder.
“We were going hitter to hitter, and if it had been two outs and one gets one maybe it’s a different story,” Banister said. “But with the one out, I thought it was maybe time to go ahead and get Shawn in the game and give Bautista a different look. That’s the heart of that lineup.”
Said Gallardo: “They have a good lineup. Going into today, Chirinos and I came up with a good game plan. No matter what the team is, you can’t fall behind major-league hitters, and with the guys they have, they can do some damage if you fall behind and the count is in their favor.”