Espinal delivers go-ahead hit, Blue Jays beat Rangers 4-3

Apr 9, 2022, 3:01 AM | Updated: 4:19 pm

Texas Rangers' Andy Ibanez (77) celebrates after throwing out Toronto Blue Jays George Springer dur...

Texas Rangers' Andy Ibanez (77) celebrates after throwing out Toronto Blue Jays George Springer during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, April 9, 2022. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, Bo Bichette singled and homered, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Saturday.

George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each had two hits, and Bichette scored twice as the Blue Jays improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2016.

Facing left-hander Brett Martin (0-1), Espinal hit for Cavan Biggio with a runner at first and two out. Speedy Raimel Tapia scored without a play at the plate on Espinal’s double to left-center.

Espinal also had a go-ahead RBI double in Friday’s season-opening win.

“Any chance he gets, he produces,” said Bichette. “That’s a special quality, to stay locked in at all times. Obviously he’s helped us a lot.”

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo called Espinal “an unsung hero.”

Espinal gained some weight in offseason workouts and said he’s been noticing the results.

“It feels a lot different from last year and I can tell by my swing, even in BP,” he said.

Of all the hitters in Toronto’s loaded lineup, Rangers manager Chris Woodward was frustrated about being beaten by Espinal.

“We’ve got to stop throwing him fastballs down the middle,” Woodward said. “Anybody can hit those.”

Texas is 0-2 for the second straight season and has lost five in a row to Toronto.

“Overall, we just didn’t do enough to win the game when it came down to it,” Woodward said.

Blue Jays right-hander Trevor Richards (1-0) worked one inning for the win. Yimi García pitched the seventh, Tim Mayza worked the eighth, and Jordan Romano finished for his second save.

Romano has converted 25 consecutive save chances, matching Tom Henke’s 1998 team record.

Making his Toronto debut after signing a $110 million, five-year contract last December, right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. He walked none and struck out five.

All three runs off Gausman came in the third. Former Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien hit an RBI double, Corey Seager followed with a run-scoring grounder, and Nathaniel Lowe capped the rally with an RBI single.

“That one inning obviously kind of got away from me a little bit,” Gausman said. “More than anything, just some fastballs I was trying to go up with and kind of missed down in the zone. That’s a big pitch for me. I’m definitely still kind of trying to get into mid-season form with it.”

Guerrero and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in runs for Toronto in a two-run first against right-hander Dane Dunning, and the Blue Jays tied it on Bichette’s first homer this season, a leadoff drive in the fifth,.

Dunning allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out four.


Rangers: Texas put RHP Jon Gray on 10-day injured list because of a blister on his right middle finger, and recalled RHP Spencer Patton from Triple-A Round Rock. Gray left Friday’s opening day start after four innings.

Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (right hamstring) reported no issues after a two inning simulated game Friday, manager Charlie Montoyo said.


Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernández was hit by pitches in the third and seventh innings.


Rangers SS Seager went 2 for 4 with an RBI and has hit safely in 12 of 13 games dating to 2021.


Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (14-10, 4.37 in 2021) starts Sunday as Toronto goes for the sweep. Ryu went 1-1 in two starts against Texas last season, the only times in his career he has faced them. The Rangers have not announced a starter.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Espinal delivers go-ahead hit, Blue Jays beat Rangers 4-3