The Blue Jays continue a six-game road trip by beginning a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday, sending Brandon Morrow to the mound. In his last start, Morrow threw a three-hit shutout during a 2-0 win over the Mets last Saturday. It was the second shutout for Morrow this month, as he threw another three-hitter in a 5-0 victory over the Angels on May 3. Morrow is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA this month, striking out 33 and walking nine while holding opposing hitters to a .150 batting average.
The Mariners' Kevin Millwood pitched a two-hit shutout in a 4-0 win over the Rockies on May 18, his previous outing before facing the Rangers on Wednesday. Millwood held the Rangers scoreless over six innings, allowing three hits en route to picking up a victory in his third straight start.
Derek Holland starts for the Rangers on Friday, although he was not effective as in his last start as Morrow was in his. David Murphy hit the 23rd inside-the-park home run in team history during a four-run third inning that gave the Rangers a 4-0 lead Saturday. But Holland surrendered a home run in each of the last three innings he pitched, giving up five runs in five innings of a 6-5 loss.
"I'm looking forward to bouncing back," Holland said. "I've been working in the bullpen on keeping the ball down. There were some mechanical adjustments, I was looking down rather than looking at my target. I'm looking forward to this start, I'm well-prepared for it and ready."
Holland is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in May and 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA at home this year. In five career appearances against the Blue Jays, including four starts, Holland is 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA.
"I'm looking forward to him getting better," said manager Ron Washington. "I'm not looking at results, I'm looking at his attitude. The results will happen. He's working at it and he's always been a strong finisher and gets stronger as the season goes along."
Blue Jays: Bautista heating up in May
Jose Bautista hit a home run in his first at-bat Wednesday off James Shields, his seventh in his last 13 games. During that stretch, Bautista is hitting .346 with 14 RBIs and 12 runs. He has hit nine home runs in May, tied for the most in the American League with Adam Dunn and Josh Hamilton, who has not homered in his last 40 at-bats but still leads the Major Leagues with 18 home runs. With the first-inning blast Wednesday, Batista also tied Fred McGriff for eighth place on the all-time Blue Jays home run list, with 125 in 489 games with the team.
After striking out in his first four at-bats Wednesday, Blue Jays leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson doubled in the ninth inning to reach base for the 18th consecutive games. Johnson has reached base in 21 of 22 games this month, posting a .351 on-base percentage in May. He has reached base in 37 of the 43 games he's played this season.
Rangers: Mariners bring out the best in Harrison
Matt Harrison improved to 5-3 on the year with a strong outing Tuesday against the Mariners, allowing seven hits and one run over seven innings while striking out six and walking two. Those five wins are the second-most on the team, behind Yu Darvish, who is 6-2 in his first season with the Rangers.
Despite being blanked through the first seven innings in two of their three games against the Mariners this week, both losses, the Rangers remained one of six teams in the Major Leagues to not be shut out this year. With one out in the eighth inning Wednesday, Hamilton's RBI double brought home the Rangers' first run of the game. Adrian Beltre hit a two-run home run in the following at-bat. Two days earlier, Mitch Moreland hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to keep the Rangers from getting shutout in a 6-1 loss.
The Rangers get a day off Thursday after playing 20 games in the previous 20 days, going 10-10 over that stretch.
The Blue Jays and Rangers will begin the second of three three-game series this year. They will square off again Aug. 17-19. Toronto took two of three games from Texas in the first series between the teams this season.