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TOR@TEX: Rivera ties the game with a solo home run

ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays have solved their problem about scoring runs, producing a 22-run onslaught here in Texas in three games.

The trouble Wednesday night was the big inning and then the big home run the Blue Jays gave up, leading to a 7-6 loss to Texas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The crusher was an Octavio Dotel cutter to start the bottom of the seventh that the Rangers' Mitch Moreland deposited onto the grassy knoll in center field for the game-winner. It negated a tying homer by Juan Rivera in the top of the seventh.

"I knew the guy was going to challenge me," Moreland said. "He came in with a fastball over the middle of the plate and it was a pitch I could handle."

The Blue Jays and Dotel may never have been in the position to lose the game in the seventh had it not been for a six-run third inning by the Rangers that turned a 2-0 Toronto lead into a huge deficit.

A crucial throwing error by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion set the stage for the unraveling of starter Jo-Jo Reyes. The left-hander was cruising along, facing the minimum seven batters before Encarnacion's poor throw. Then came several poor pitches to a Rangers lineup that just doesn't need any help.

"He was efficient," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He gets two quick outs. Before we knew it, he couldn't shut the inning off. When you see a six-run spot, things have gotten away from you."

Reyes began the inning by getting David Murphy to line out to shortstop. Then Encarnacion, back at third base for the first time since Friday after being out with a wrist injury, made a nice backhand stop on a grounder hit by Yorvit Torrealba. But Encarnacion's throw gave Adam Lind an in-between hop at first base that he couldn't glove.

Reyes still came back to strike out Moreland for the second out. But it took seven more hitters to get the third out, and Reyes was out of the game by then.

Reyes walked Ian Kinsler on a 3-2 changeup and allowed a run-scoring single to Elvis Andrus to make it 2-1. Michael Young followed with a two-run double to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Reyes then hit Adrian Beltre, and with two men on base, Nelson Cruz had an RBI single. Mike Napoli followed with a two-run double for a 6-2 Rangers lead. Carlos Villanueva finally came in to the get the third out of the inning on a Murphy groundout.

All six runs in the inning were unearned.

"One pitch, I'm out of it," said Reyes, who lasted only 2 2/3 innings. "I couldn't make that pitch. There were mistakes. I have to step up and pick up the team and make my pitch and get out of the inning. It all snowballed in that inning."

The Blue Jays fought back for three runs in the top of the fourth. Mike McCoy had an RBI single and Jose Bautista continued his torrid run with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 6-5.

Meanwhile, Villanueva was having 3 1/3 innings of splendid work to keep the Blue Jays in the game. He didn't allow a hit and had only one walk, leaving after the sixth inning and setting the stage for Rivera's tying home run.

"This is now the third time where [Carlos] has done just like this tonight, where's he's stabilized the game," Farrell said. "He continues to do a very good job of going extended innings. If it wasn't for his 3 1/3 innings of work, we're looking at a greater deficit than we were."

Rangers reliever Cody Eppley retired the first two Blue Jays in the top of the seventh, but he couldn't get Rivera, who belted a two-out home run to tie the game at 6.

"Rivera has obviously swung the bat with authority in this series," Farrell said. Rivera had a home run against Colby Lewis on Monday.

The Blue Jays did nearly stage a ninth-inning rally. With runners at first and third and two outs, Encarnacion got locked into a fierce battle with Rangers closer Darren Oliver.

Encarnacion had a nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off four pitches in a row before striking out on a four-seam fastball.

"We swung the bat exceptionally well again tonight," Farrell said. "Even getting the two-run lead and fighting back in, we responded to the six-run inning they had the very next inning with three runs of our own. There were a lot of good things offensively tonight." Comments