ARLINGTON -- Toronto couldn't have asked for much more out of David Purcey on Sunday night -- except maybe for him to have kept the hits he allowed in the ballpark. Purcey went five innings for the Blue Jays and allowed just three hits over that span, the first of which didn't even come until the fourth inning. But all three hits he allowed sailed over the right-field wall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. So, even though Toronto matched Texas hit for hit, the Blue Jays were doubled up, 8-4, in Sunday's series finale. "He threw the ball pretty well, I thought," manager Cito Gaston said of Purcey. "He just made a few mistakes -- three. He just got into some trouble the second time through their order." What made Purcey's struggles the second time through the Texas order seem to come out of out of the blue was how effortlessly he breezed through it the first three innings.
"I thought he handled himself the first nine hitters," Gaston said. Purcey faced the minimum through three, allowing just one baserunner in the second, but coaxing an inning-ending double play. Of those first nine batters faced, he struck out four. But one batter into the fourth inning, Purcey was already asking for trouble. He walked Ian Kinsler to lead off the fourth to bring up Gerald Laird. Not exactly known for his power with four home runs on the season entering Sunday, Laird sent a Purcey offering the opposite way into the Rangers bullpen in right-center field. Although Purcey walked another batter in the inning, he escaped with no further harm done and Toronto still in front, 4-2. "When we get a lead, we've got to hold them," Gaston said. "They don't hit many ground balls." In the fifth, though, Purcey couldn't hold that lead and the Rangers kept their hits in the air. Two batters into the inning, Purcey struck the same pose he had two batters into the fourth inning, as he watched Chris Davis' 405-foot home run. Purcey then delivered a pitch that was a subject of controversy for both Gaston and Rangers manager Ron Washington. With Travis Metcalf at the plate, Purcey's pitch skipped in the dirt in front of Metcalf and over his front foot. Metcalf limped toward first base, but home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called for him to come back to the plate, asserting that the pitch didn't hit him. However, after a short protest from Washington, Wendelstedt asked his crew for assistance and they granted Metcalf first base. Gaston protested after that, but to no avail. With two outs in the inning, Purcey struck his home run pose again as Laird rounded the bases, having poked another of his offerings the opposite way into the Rangers bullpen. Laird's second home run gave Texas a 5-4 lead, and Gaston wasn't pleased that Metcalf accounted for one of those runs. "[Purcey] got in trouble by walking people, and, of course, there was the one baserunner who got on when they said the pitch hit him and I don't think he got hit," Gaston said. "That was a two-run home run right there. Of course, [the umpires] said they wanted to get it right, but they didn't get it right." Purcey retired the next batter to end the inning, and he didn't come out for the sixth. Overall, he was pleased with his outing, but the only mistakes he made on the night -- the only three hits he allowed -- stuck with him. "Any of them," Purcey said in reference to which one of his home run pitches was the biggest mistake. "They're all about the same. They all resulted in runs." Of course, Purcey's three mistakes became moot when the Toronto bullpen uncharacteristically allowed three more runs. Meanwhile, the offense was dormant after posting a three-run first inning and tacking on a fourth run before Texas got on the board. The Blue Jays collected seven hits just like the Rangers, but the home team parlayed its seven hits into eight runs. Despite his three mistakes, Purcey came away from his start with just as many positives. "It was pretty good," Purcey said. "I made a couple mistakes over the plate, and they're a good hitting team, so they made me pay. But I was getting ahead and I thought I was doing a good job getting outs."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.