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Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A weekend series at Rangers Ballpark kept the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers headed opposite directions.

The Blue Jays completed a four-game sweep in Arlington for the first time in franchise history with a 7-2 win Sunday, handing the Rangers their sixth straight loss and their ninth in 11 games.

Now winners of five straight, the Blue Jays outscored the Rangers 24-4 in the sweep to pull within 8 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox for the first time since April 27. They're headed home to play the Colorado Rockies for a three-game set before facing the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston in an attempt to gain serious ground in the division.

"We played four quality games all the way around -- good baserunning, a little bit of everything," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We're feeling good right now. We'll go home now and hopefully keep it going."

Chien-Ming Wang sliced his way through a struggling Texas offense, pitching seven shutout innings. Homers by J.P. Arencibia, Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind helped put the Rangers away.

In just his second start with Toronto, Wang (1-0) induced 12 groundballs en route to his first win since June 12, 2012. He made a scoreless start for the first time since 2008.

"In this game, if you don't have quality pitching, it's going to be tough for you," Arencibia said. "He was really good today and could be a big part of our staff."

The Rangers are in the midst of one of their worst offensive stretches in franchise history. They were 2-for-24 with runners in scoring position over the weekend, and they only held a one-run lead for a half-inning in the entire series. They've scored fewer than two runs in six straight games -- a franchise worst -- and have scored just 38 runs in their 15 games in June, only winning four of those games.

Texas manager Ron Washington spoke to his team in the clubhouse after the game, but he didn't share the message.

"They just needed to hear from their manager," he said. "We're challenged right now, but we're a tough team and we will make it through."

The Rangers next host the surging Oakland A's, who have won 22 of their past 29 games.

Arencibia, Lind and Rasmus were hot all weekend. The three sluggers combined to go 13-for-43 (.302) with six homers and 16 RBIs against a beleaguered Texas rotation that couldn't get any run support.

Lind continued his torrid run by belting out two singles and a three-run homer Sunday to give him 13 multi-hit games in his last 19 starts. In that span, he's raised his average from .268 to .350 with five homers and 15 RBIs. He's hitting .291 with 18 homers in his 46 career games against Texas.

"He's hitting everybody," Gibbons said. "He's throwing hits everywhere, he's not just a slugger. He's taking hits the other way. If they make a mistake in, he'll put it in the seats."

Arencibia entered the series in a 3-for-45 slump, but he belted two homers in the series to give him seven homers in 11 career games at Rangers Ballpark.

Rasmus hit homers in three straight games for the first time in his career.

The Rangers made it interesting when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Elvis Andrus managed to get a dribbling infield single and Ian Kinsler walked to score both Rangers runs. Adrian Beltre flied to left field for the final out.

It was the first time the Rangers have lost six in a row in a homestand since 1997.

NOTES: Despite Texas' offensive struggles, Rangers OF Leonys Martin went 6-for-17 on the homestand with three doubles and a homer. ... The Rangers rotation has gone 15 games without a win, the worst stretch since 1995. ... The Blue Jays completed the season series with Texas having won six of the seven games. ... Lind's seventh-inning home run was his 125th, tying Fred McGriff for ninth in Toronto history. ... The Rangers have gone 15 games with 10 or fewer hits, tying a franchise worst set in 1988.
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