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TOR@TEX: Patterson's bunt single puts Jays on top

ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays slugged their way to two victories earlier in this series against the Rangers. They bunted their way to a 5-2 victory and a series win Thursday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Corey Patterson laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt in the top of the ninth inning, scoring John McDonald from third base to snap a 2-2 tie that had been in place since the third inning. The Blue Jays got two insurance runs on a calamity of errors on the same play by the Rangers, and Frankie Francisco closed the door on his former team with two strikeouts and a lineout in the bottom of the ninth.

The Jays won three out of four games in Texas, and take some momentum into a three-game weekend series against the Yankees.

McDonald started the rally with a one-out single. Yunel Escobar, who had entered the game for defensive purposes after having a start off, followed with a single to move McDonald to third.

Patterson's bunt was the right play at the right time. The Rangers had to hold Escobar at first base, so Chris Davis couldn't play in for the bunt. And McDonald got a great read off third base to score easily as Patterson's bunt went down the first-base line. Rangers reliever Darren Oliver finally got to the ball, but he had no play.

"Corey's an excellent bunter," McDonald said. "We put ourselves in an excellent situation for something like that to happen."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell got to say what every skipper wants to say after a game, noting that his club worked on bunting and the squeeze play extensively in Spring Training.

"It definitely worked out for us," Patterson said. "Really, I just wanted to put the bunt in the right location. I happened to end up getting a hit out of it, too. If they had picked it up and thrown it to first base, that would have been fine, because the main objective was to score the run and go ahead."

The Blue Jays added two crucial insurance runs when Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre booted Juan Rivera's sharply-hit grounder with the bases loaded and two outs. Escobar scored easily, and then Patterson was able to score when Jose Bautista drew a throw at second base from Oliver and the Rangers' Ian Kinsler missed it. Patterson scampered home for a 3-2 lead.

That left the game up to Francisco, who had already gotten out of a huge jam in the bottom of the eighth. With runners at second and third, Francisco got Rangers right fielder Mitch Moreland, who won Wednesday's game with a late home run, to swing at and miss a curveball in the dirt, keeping the game tied.

Francisco then blew through his former teammates in the bottom of the ninth for the victory, striking out Mike Napoli and Davis and getting Julio Borbon to line out to first baseman Adam Lind.

Francisco played it cool after the game, saying he wasn't trying to get back at the team that traded him in the offseason for Mike Napoli.

"I don't look at who the other team is," Francisco said. "I just have to face who I have to face."

The Blue Jays took an early lead for a fourth straight game. Bautista drew a two-out walk, and Adam Lind made Alexi Ogando pay, hitting a high drive into the home run porch in right field for a 2-0 lead. Lind has 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in his past 14 games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Rangers battled back against Brandon Morrow. He gave up a two-out single to Beltre to cut the Blue Jays' lead to 2-1. A sacrifice fly by Michael Young in the bottom of the third tied the game at 2-2.

Morrow settled in after that, working around a leadoff double by Kinsler in the bottom of the fifth. Jose Molina helped his pitcher out, throwing behind Kinsler, and second baseman Mike McCoy blocked the bag and tagged out Kinsler.

The Blue Jays wasted a golden opportunity in the top of the seventh. They loaded the bases on two hit batters -- one of them Bautista -- and a walk. That brought up Lind, who hit three home runs in the series. He worked the count full in a 10-pitch at-bat against Pedro Strop, but swung at and missed a changeup in the dirt for the third out.

The Blue Jays also survived a near disaster in the seventh. On the play where Bautista was hit, it appeared at first that he was drilled in the head. It turned out to be his hand instead, and not on the wrist or the back of the hand where there are a lot of bones.

Bautista, the AL's home run leader, also had tightness in his hamstring after a diving catch in the fifth inning, but he was able to run the bases fine when he singled in the sixth.

"We dodged what could have been an unfortunate incident," Farrell said. "... It was a scary moment, but at the same time we're fortunate that nothing is broken." Comments