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Homers propel Jays to fourth win in a row

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A pair of two-run homers paced the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-1 win over the punchless Texas Rangers on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Blue Jays won their fourth straight game and their ninth in the last 12 to improve to five games above .500 for the first time since April 25.

"Everybody's been contributing," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Our pitching is coming together and we have to ride that as long as we can."

The Rangers dropped their fifth straight game and fell to 4-10 in June. They're 1-5 during an 11-game homestand and have now gone 14 games since collecting more than 10 hits in a game, their worst stretch since 1988.

The first two-run homer came in the first inning, Adam Lind sat on a 1-2 curveball from Rangers starter Josh Lindblom and drove it off the foul pole in right to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth, Lind singled before Colby Rasmus belted his second homer of the series into the right-field seats to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.

Lind has been one of the hottest hitters since May 23. During the past 18 games, he is hitting .444 with 12 multi-hit games, four homers and 12 RBIs. His season batting average is up to .345 and he seems to have regained the sweet stroke that won him a Silver Slugger award in 2009.

"I've always been capable of it, but sometimes I don't tap into that," he said.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons agreed that Lind has always had the ability for this type of stretch and said his team needs to be able to hit home runs in the tough American League East.

"He was drafted as a guy that could hit, so we know he's capable of doing it," Gibbons said. "I think the key for him has been using the whole field."

Lind is a Rangers-killer, blasting 14 homers against Texas since 2009, the most against any team.

The Rangers turned in another dreadful performance at the plate, going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. In the 14 games they've played in June, they've scored 2.64 runs per game, the lowest mark in baseball.

Five Rangers reached base in the fourth and fifth innings, but none scored.

Texas broke through in the sixth by stringing three straight one-out singles together before Leonys Martin gave the Rangers their first run in 22 innings by outrunning a potential inning-ending double play, allowing Nelson Cruz to score on the fielder's choice.

The Rangers loaded the bases in the fourth, but Chris McGuinness struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

Texas wasted two more base runners in the fifth.

"It's simple baseball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You've got to get hits with runners in scoring position, and we haven't been able to do it."

R.A. Dickey held the Rangers to one run and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in the second start of his career against the team that drafted him in 1996. He then turned the game over to a bullpen that only allowed two singles the rest of the way.

Martin's three-hit effort was the lone bright spot for Texas. He was also the first Ranger to steal a base on the current homestand.

NOTES: Edwin Encarnacion's 10-game hitting streak ended after going 0-for-4 with a walk. ... Dickey's inability to pitch seven innings breaks a string of three consecutive games where Blue Jay starters pitched seven innings. ... The Rangers had back-to-back hits in the fourth inning for the first time in 20 innings. ... Ian Kinsler returned from the disabled list and went 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot. It was his first game since May 18. ... Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus homered for the second straight game and third time in his last five games. ... The Rangers have scored only five runs in their last five games. ... Totonto's Brett Cecil extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
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