Texas (47-46) at Toronto (52-40)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 7:07 pm EDT Tue Jul 18, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Blue Jays are keeping pace with the division leaders in the competitive AL East, and they look to move 13 games above .500 for the first time in nearly seven years as they play the middle game of their three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.

The Blue Jays (52-40) routed the Rangers 10-1 on Monday, matching a season high with nine runs in the fourth inning.

Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay both homered in the inning, with Wells hitting a grand slam and Overbay a two-run shot.

“It’s kind of nice to be able to breakout and get some consistent hitting in key situations,” Overbay said.

Overbay is 8-for-20 (.400) in four games since the All-Star break, and Wells is 6-for-17 (.353) with two homers and six RBIs in that span. The two were criticized by general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who said before the All-Star break the 3-4-5 hitters were “killing the team.”

“It was a good night for everybody,” said Wells, who took offense to the comments when asked about them at the All-Star game.

Toronto was without third baseman Troy Glaus, who has patellar tendinitis in his right knee, and designated hitter Shea Hillenbrand, who is with his family because they adopted a child.

Glaus, who leads the team with 24 home runs, received a coritsone shot after playing only four innings in Sunday’s game and is expected to miss this game.

“(The doctors) normally like him to take one or two off,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That lets it settle and do its thing.”

Toronto, which has won three straight games, is 3 1/2 games behind first-place Boston, and three behind the second-place New York Yankees. The Jays have not been closer than three games out of first since trailing by two on June 17.

The Blue Jays were also 12 games over .500 on July 1 at 46-34, but they have not been 13 games above the break-even mark since Aug. 11, 1999, when they were 65-51.

Shaun Marcum (0-0, 7.45 ERA) will make his first career start on Tuesday, taking the place in the rotation of Ty Taubenheim, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a staph infection in his left foot.

The 24-year-old right-hander has allowed eight runs and 14 hits in 9 2-3 innings in seven relief appearances this season. He allowed one run and two hits in one inning against the Rangers (47-46) on July 3, giving up an RBI double to Michael Young.

Marcum has a 4.08 ERA in 12 relief appearances in his two-year career and has yet to record a decision.

Marcum will be facing a struggling Texas team that has been held to three or fewer runs in 12 of its last 18 games. The Rangers have scored four runs in their last four games, batting just .180 (22-for-122) in that span.

“Four runs in four days is obviously not going to get it done,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.

Mark Teixeira was 0-for 3 on Monday, and is 1-for-11 (.091) since hitting three home runs Thursday.

Vicente Padilla (9-5, 4.25) looks to win his fourth straight start for the first time in more than two years when he pitches Tuesday.

Padilla allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 15-1 victory over Baltimore on Thursday. He has a 2.08 ERA in his last three games, and has not won four straight starts since May 7-23, 2004, when he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The right-hander recorded the second victory of his current win streak July 5 with a 9-3 win over the Blue Jays. He allowed three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in his only career game against them.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Padilla Bos vs. S. Marcum Cle
15-10 Record 3-4
4.50 ERA 5.06
156 K 65
70 BB 38
1.38 WHIP 1.60