By Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — Carlos Gomez had a feeling going into Thursday’s series finale against Toronto that he would hit a home run.
He was wrong.
He hit two.
Gomez powered a home run barrage to lead the Texas Rangers to a series-splitting 11-4 win over the Blue Jays at Globe Life Park.
“I put myself in position where I could drive the ball,” said Gomez, who went 3-for-4 and tied a career high with five RBIs.
Texas (36-36) climbed back to .500 by snapping a two-game skid and splitting the four-game set with Toronto. The Rangers completed their homestand at 4-3.
Gomez, Mike Napoli, and Robinson Chirinos each clubbed long balls off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who dropped to 7-4 and lost for the first time in six road decisions this season. Gomez added another homer, a two-run shot, in the eighth to give him five home runs and 14 RBIs in six games since returning from the disabled list.
“I’ve seen this before with Carlos, when he’s locked in, he’s extremely challenging, he’s a true professional hitter with a ton of power,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Texas starter Martin Perez wasn’t sharp but enjoyed plenty of offensive support in improving to 4-6 after working six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits. Perez is 4-0 this season when backed by at least three runs.
The Blue Jays (35-37) dropped to 0-9 in games with a chance to get to .500 this season.
“It’s been a battle trying to get back to that .500 mark,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “The most important part is that it seems we get knocked around pretty good on that day.”
Perez was staked to a 7-0 lead through four innings. The Rangers got going in the first on Adrian Beltre’s two-out double to left, scoring Elvis Andrus from first. The relay throw to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was dropped to negate a play at the plate.
Napoli got to Stroman an inning later with his 14th homer, an opposite-field blast to right to plate Gomez.
Stroman initially avoided giving up a fourth run in the third when Andrus was thrown out at the plate. With one out and the infield in, Beltre’s chopper to third was fielded cleanly by Russell Martin, who gunned down Andrus.
Rougned Odor followed with a single before Gomez ripped a three-run bomb off the left-field foul pole. Chirinos had a solo shot in the fourth.
Stroman didn’t come back out for the fifth.
“The long ball hurt me,” he said. “It was kind of the feel for my pitches out there. I’m not really worried about it, just didn’t have a good feel of my sinker and all of the other pitches kind of played off of that. I’ll make a few adjustments and we can get back out there Wednesday.”
Perez ran into trouble in the fifth, as the Blue Jays scored four runs after two outs. The rally started when Dwight Smith was hit by a pitch. Luke Maile’s double got Toronto on the board.
Hits from Martin and Kendrys Morales, with the bases loaded, pulled the visitors within three runs.
The Rangers head out on a 10-day, 10-game road trip starting Friday at the New York Yankees. Texas is 14-19 on the road.
Toronto completes its seven games on the road with three in Kansas City beginning Friday.