ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Brandon McCarthy started with a small goal, and kept on going after reached it.
McCarthy (2-4) allowed one run and two hits with four walks. He began the night with a 9.90 ERA, having allowed 17 runs over six innings in his previous three starts.
“I was on a mission to throw more than three innings,” he said. “I needed a quality outing. I knew this was a big start. I needed to go back to the way I pitched before, just throw the ball.”
“We put together what we hadn’t been putting together,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We hit, pitched, ran the bases and played defense.”
A players-only pregame meeting also could have been a factor for the Rangers, off to the fourth-worst start in their history.
“We had to do something,” Washington said. “We weren’t as bad as we’d been playing. Whatever they discussed, I hope they discuss it again tomorrow.”
Sal Fasano homered for the Blue Jays, who’ve lost four straight overall and 14 of their last 17 in Arlington.
McCarthy, who struck out one, got his first win since April 9 against Tampa Bay.
“He went out and challenged the hitters,” Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor said. “He trusted his stuff. It was a positive outing for him and for all of us. He threw harder than he had been and was more aggressive. His fastball had more explosion and his off-speed pitches kept them off the fastball. He’s a big league pitcher and he showed it tonight.”
McCarthy picked up the loss in his last start April 29 against Toronto, allowing five runs in three innings.
“Compared to his last start against us he made some really good adjustments,” Fasano said. “It’s tough for a young kid to come out after being hit around pretty good but he showed he’s maturing as a pitcher and he certainly shut us down.”
Washington has been encouraging his hitters to do a better job of manufacturing runs, and the Rangers took the small-ball approach in a two-run second off Tomo Ohka (2-3).
Blalock led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Ian Kinsler, the team’s leader in homers and RBIs. Brad Wilkerson followed with a single, with Blalock stopping at third and Wilkerson moving to second on center fielder Alex Rios’ throwing error.
Gerald Laird, who began the game with a .182 average, singled in both runners.
In the third, Fasano’s first homer of the season pulled the Blue Jays within one.
Texas responded with three runs in the third. Mark Teixeira hit an RBI double and Blalock drove him in with his second homer of the season.
McCarthy walked three in the fourth to load the bases, but got out of the jam when Fasano flied out.
“I started rushing in the fourth,” McCarthy said. “I had to slow myself down and get back on track.”
Willie Eyre pitched three scoreless innings for his first career save.
Lofton’s second homer leading off the fifth pushed Texas’ advantage to 6-1.
Ohka gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
Sammy Sosa was back in the Texas lineup at DH after getting beaned Thursday night by Yankees reliever Brian Bruney. Sosa went 0-for-4. … Toronto CF Vernon Wells missed the game with flulike symptoms. … The Rangers have homered in nine of their last 11 games.