By Gregor Chisholm and Keegan Matheson
TORONTO -- Andrew Cashner silenced a surging Blue Jays offense and helped the Rangers avoid a three-game sweep at Rogers Centre in the process.
Cashner enjoyed one of his best starts of the season by allowing just one run over seven innings in a 3-1 victory on Sunday afternoon. He scattered five hits, walked two and finished with a pair of strikeouts to drop his ERA to 2.92 and, more importantly, helped snap Texas' five-game losing streak. Toronto's winning streak was stopped at five games.
Toronto right-hander Joe Biagini matched Cashner pitch for pitch most of the afternoon. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk, while picking up seven strikeouts. His six innings and 95 pitches were both career highs and he now appears to be fully stretched out after transitioning from the bullpen earlier this month.
The Blue Jays were not able to generate much on offense with most of the credit belonging to Cashner, but they did miss out on some opportunities as well. Toronto went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. Devon Travis extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fifth and center fielder Kevin Pillar doubled in the loss.
"Cash has been one of the most sought-after arms over the last few years in baseball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He has one of the best arms in baseball and now he's really turned into a pitcher. He used to be power, power, power. Now he's learned to take a little bit off. He'll throw anything at any time. He has really mastered that. He's just turning into a pitcher and he kept us off balance."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Closing it out: The Blue Jays made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Down to their final out, Justin Smoak and Russell Martin kept the game alive with a pair of singles through the infield. Troy Tulowitzki stepped to the plate against Texas closer Matt Bush and worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a weak grounder to shortstop. Bush picked up his sixth save while the Blue Jays dropped to 12-12 at home.
Manufacturing runs: The Rangers were aggressive on the basepaths early in the game as they tried to take advantage of Biagini's slow delivery to the plate. Odor stole a base in the second and was eventually stranded at third, but in the fourth inning the speed paid off. This time it was Andrus, who hit a one-out single and then stole second. Andrus then came around to score on an RBI single up the middle by Lucroy as the Rangers tied the game at 1.
"C plus. Maybe B minus, considering my expansion of pitches, but a lot of room for improvement. I would definitely categorize it as a learning experience." -- Biagini, on his outing after reaching career highs in pitches and innings pitched.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Lucroy's RBI single in the third inning extended his streak of games with a run driven in to six. That's the longest streak by a Rangers player since Rougned Odor's streak of seven ended in early September 2016.
The Blue Jays turned what appeared to be an inning-ending double play in the second, but a successful challenge from Texas manager Jeff Banister extended the inning. After review, it was ruled that Ryan Rua beat the throw to first base, however Jared Hoying grounded out in the next at-bat to end the frame.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander Martin Perez (2-5, 3.77 ERA) will open the Texas homestand against Tampa Bay on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT. In four May starts, Perez has pitched at least six innings and has yet to allow more than three runs as he continues to provide consistency in the rotation.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.30) will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a three-game series vs. the Reds on Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre. Stroman has won his last four decisions and is coming off an outing in which he allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Brewers.