Toronto (14-18) at Texas (14-17)

Sunny Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue May 6, 2003
  • TV: RSN, KDFI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Blue Jays hope to get some strong pitching as they open a three-game series against the high-scoring Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas pounded Toronto’s pitching for 12 home runs, 46 hits and 33 runs while taking two of three at SkyDome last week. The Blue Jays pitching staff bounced back during the weekend to help Toronto sweep a three-game series with the Anaheim Angels.

The Blue Jays completed the sweep Sunday, as Carlos Delgado got a three-run double in an 8-2 victory over the Angels. Delgado walked twice and went 2-for-3, raising his average to .358.

Toronto, which has won four straight, swept Anaheim in a three-game series for the first time since 1999. Mark Hendrickson and Kelvim Escobar combined on a four-hitter, and Toronto held the defending World Series champions to just four runs in three games.

Toronto gave up 50 runs in the first five games (2-3) of the homestand, but just 10 in the final four.

“It’s good to see, as a staff, that we’ve somewhat come around,” Hendrickson said. “Now we just have to keep it going.”

Escobar, slated to move into the rotation later this month, pitched three hitless innings for his fourth save.

Toronto entered with an AL-worst 5.64 ERA, but Hendrickson extended a string of strong starts for the Blue Jays.

“We had a meeting earlier this week and our bullpen coach, Bruce Walton, said a couple of things,” Hendrickson said. “It was just something we needed as a staff. We can’t put too much pressure on ourselves. We just have to relax.”

Despite a high-scoring offense, the Rangers have lost three of four and are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday. John Thomson lost despite pitching a five-hitter for his first complete game since September 2001.

Texas had 54 runs, 78 hits and 13 homers in its previous six games.

The Rangers did not hit a homer for the second straight day, their longest homerless streak this season.

Texas first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, two homers shy of 500, grounded out as a pinch hitter for the final out. Palmeiro has hit 31 homers in his career against Toronto.

STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 4th place, 9 1/2 GB, AL East. Rangers - 3rd place, 6 GB, AL West.

BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Tanyon Sturtze (3-2, 5.57 ERA). Sturtze is coming off his worst outing of the season. The 32-year-old righty allowed eight runs—six earned—and 11 hits in just three innings of Toronto’s 11-3 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday. Sturtze has yielded 28 runs in 32 1-3 innings, but just 20 of them have been earned.

RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Colby Lewis (3-2, 6.23 ERA). Lewis was off to a great start before running into the Blue Jays on Thursday. The 23-year-old righty gave up seven runs and seven hits in only two innings of work in a 7-6 loss to Toronto on Thursday.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Delgado, .358 avg., 9 HRs, 34 RBIs and 25 runs; Orlando Hudson, 2 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .361 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, 11 HRs; Alex Rodriguez and Gonzalez, 26 RBIs; Carl Everett, 27 runs; Rodriguez, 4 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 2-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - 1B Delgado leads the majors with 34 RBIs. … Toronto’s 5.52 team ERA ranks last among 14 AL teams. … OF Shannon Stewart was thrown out in his only stolen base attempt this season. Stewart has 162 career steals. Rangers - OF Gonzalez leads the AL with 11 home runs. Gonzalez is batting .500 (7-for-14) with five home runs and 10 RBIs in three games against Toronto this season. … Texas leads the majors with 55 home runs. … OF Everett has hit three of his 10 home runs against the Blue Jays.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 6-8 on the road; Rangers - 8-8 at home.

INJURIES: Blue Jays - RHP Bob File (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (shoulder), 15-day DL. Rangers - C Todd Greene (hamstring), 15-day DL; IF Herbert Perry (knee), 15-day DL; OF Doug Glanville (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Halladay Tor vs. C. Lewis Tex
22-7 Record 10-9
3.25 ERA 7.30
204 K 88
32 BB 70
1.07 WHIP 1.83