Blue Jays 8, Rangers 0
Chacin allowed two hits over eight shutout innings and Johnson was hit by a major league record-tying three pitches—two with the bases loaded—in Toronto’s 8-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Chacin (3-0) walked two and hit a batter in his fifth major league start to help the Blue Jays win for the sixth time in eight games.
“The kid’s good,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He knows how to pitch and he knows how to win.”
Chacin gave the Blue Jays’ rotation another strong start. Toronto starters have allowed three runs or less in nine of their 12 games.
The left-hander worked out of trouble in the first when the Rangers had runners at first and second with two outs, striking out Richard Hidalgo. Chacin did not allow more than one baserunner in any of his final seven innings.
“The first couple of innings, I got off to a slow start,” Chacin said. “But after that, I kept hitting my spots and good things happened.”
Catcher Gregg Zaun said Chacin carries himself like a veteran rather than a 24-year-old rookie.
“He does the things that veteran pitchers do against good-hitting teams,” Zaun said. “I don’t think he’s a flash in the pan. He’s gonna get better. He’s not the kind of kid who’s gonna take a whole lot for granted.”
A native of Venezuela, Chacin had three strikeouts and helped the Blue Jays pitch their first shutout since a 7-0 win against the New York Yankees on Oct. 1. Chacin has allowed three runs in 19 innings this season.
Meanwhile, Johnson was hit by pitches in the third, sixth and eighth innings, with the last two driving in runs. He tied the big league record, set 21 times and last by current teammate Corey Koskie on July 27, 2004, while he was with the Minnesota Twins.
“Anything to help the team score some runs,” Johnson said. “It makes the job easier for everyone else.”
Koskie downplayed the record he and Johnson now share.
“It’s something that just happens,” Koskie said. “You don’t even think about it.”
Hillenbrand’s second-inning homer gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Toronto made it 4-0 with a three-run sixth against Texas starter Kenny Rogers. The Blue Jays loaded the bases when Hillenbrand singled, Alex Rios reached on second baseman Alfonso Soriano’s fielding error, and Zaun singled.
Hudson, who had just two hits in his previous 19 at-bats, singled to drive in Hillenbrand and Rios for a 3-0 lead.
Soriano’s dropped throw at second from shortstop Michael Young on a potential double-play grounder gave the Blue Jays an opening, and Toronto capitalized.
“I took my eyes off the ball too quick and missed it,” said Soriano.
Toronto loaded the bases again, and Rogers (0-1) hit Johnson with a pitch to force in another run, extending the lead to 4-0.
Rogers allowed four runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Reliever Carlos Almanzar hit Johnson with the bases full in the eighth to make it 5-0, and Koskie’s two-run single pushed Toronto’s advantage to 7-0.
The last time the Rangers were shut out was Sept. 26, 9-0 by the Seattle Mariners. … All five of Chacin’s major league starts have been on the road, three this season. … Almanzar made his first appearance of the season in the eighth. Almanzar’s mother and brother died in the Dominican Republic earlier this month and Almanzar was just removed from the bereavement list on Friday. “I was waiting for this,” Almanzar said. “That way I can forget everything that’s happened to me. I was prepared, ready to go.”