Thurman got his first start of the season Saturday and made the most of it, giving up just four hits in six scoreless innings of a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Angels.
“I thought that his fastball had some lateness to it, he had some good sliders and the changeup was the big pitch for him as it kept them honest,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He threw strikes, kept his pitch count down, and he seemed to be relaxed and his mound presence was good.”
The start was just the second of Thurman’s big-league career. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up five earned runs and six hits in just three innings of a 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 2, 2002.
Thurman, who was 0-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three relief appearances for the Blue Jays before Sunday’s start, had spent most of his season at Triple-A Syracuse working on making the transition into a starter. In 2002, he worked mostly out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen, earning a 2-3 record and a 4.37 ERA in 43 appearances.
“I was working on getting my pitch count back up and getting a feel for my pitches and trying to get stronger on the mound,” he said of his work this season in Syracuse. “I’ve been trying to get in my five-day routine again.”
Dickey is also trying to work his way out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation.
He earned his first career win as a starter Sunday, giving up four earned runs and seven hits in seven innings of an 8-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
The 28-year-old righty, who has made 24 relief appearances this season, made his first career start on July 11 and had an 0-2 record with a 5.06 ERA in three starts heading into Sunday’s outing.
The Blue Jays come off Wednesday’s 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, their third win in five games.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 20 GB, AL West. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 13 GB, AL East.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Dickey (5-5, 4.98 ERA). In two career relief appearances against Toronto, spanning 3 2-3 innings, Dickey is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Thurman (1-0, 0.73 ERA). Thurman is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in four career relief appearances, totaling four innings, against the Rangers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .320 avg.; Rodriguez, 30 HRs, 85 runs and 13 SBs; Palmeiro, 79 RBIs. Blue Jays - Vernon Wells, .303 avg.; Carlos Delgado, 31 HRs, 108 RBIs and 89 runs; Kielty, 6 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - CF Donnie Sadler was forced to leave Thursday’s game when he was struck on the middle finger of his right hand in the second inning. X-rays revealed a bruise, and he expects to play Friday. … SS Rodriguez’s homer, which extended his hitting streak to 11 games, gave him 30 home runs for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time in his career. He is the only shortstop with more than five 30-home run seasons and joins Juan Gonzalez and DH Palmeiro as the only Rangers with two career 30-home run seasons. … RHP Ismael Valdes, on the 15-day disabled list with patella tendinitis in his left knee, is scheduled to make a rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Friday. He will be re-evaluated after the outing. Blue Jays - Before Wednesday, the Blue Jays had gone a season-high five games without a home run. … INF Berg’s homer on Wednesday was his first since since May 31. … SS Mike Bordick singled in the ninth Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games—the longest active streak in the AL.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 20-36 on the road; Blue Jays - 25-30 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (rib), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Valdes (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. Blue Jays - RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL.