Rangers turn to Jon Gray in series finale vs. Blue Jays

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Field Level Media
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May 26, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray (22) throws a third inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
May 26, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray (22) throws a third inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Image: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers will try to end a disappointing homestand on a positive note Sunday when they play the rubber match of their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays in Arlington, Texas

The Blue Jays, in turn, will attempt to avoid losing their third straight series

The Rangers improved to 2-4 on their homestand with a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Texas opened the seven-game homestand by dropping three of four games to the Los Angeles Angels

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The Blue Jays lost two of three to the visiting Minnesota Twins before dropping two of three to the Baltimore Orioles to open a nine-game trip

The Rangers are scheduled to send out right-hander Jon Gray (6-2, 2.32 ERA) in the series finale

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Gray is 5-1 with an ERA of 0.84 over his past six starts. He is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

Right-hander Chris Bassitt (7-5, 4.02) is scheduled to start for Toronto. He is 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 13 career games (nine starts) against Texas.

Both teams have had their problems offensively. Toronto won the series opener 2-1 on Friday.

Texas was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Saturday but had a two-run homer by Josh Jung and solo shots from Jonah Heim and Corey Seager.

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"I thought we had some really good at-bats," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought we were patient, we didn't expand the zone. We got a lot of pitches out of their staff, and the guys did a great job. To go through a little rut there, where we're not getting the big hit with runners on well, you're hoping you get the long ball. That's what happened today. It's a good win for us. It's kind of been bumpy here lately, but a good win for the boys.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider also found some positives following Saturday's game

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"If you look at some of the balls we put in play today, not just in the ninth inning, I think overall, some loud outs," Schneider said. "The bats are there, and we're getting traffic."

Daulton Varsho hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays

A key play came in the first inning, during which Toronto scored only once despite getting four hits. The Blue Jays recorded three successive two-out hits against right-hander Dane Dunning, but right fielder Adolis Garcia threw out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at home on Varsho's single

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"I think that kind of helps change the momentum a little bit," Dunning said. "Just from them getting hot to start and rattling off hits and you cut (off) that rally."

Garcia made a leaping catch on the warning track on George Springer's drive to end the fifth inning, then opened the sixth with a sliding catch on Whit Merrifield's flare.

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He also walked before Jung's homer in the second and had two singles.

With his home run, Heim has matched his career best with 48 RBIs. Bochy said it is difficult to assess his catcher's value.

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"I don't know how to measure it, but I will say that we're fortunate to have Jonah here," Bochy said. "He does a great job handling the pitchers. He's got to hit six in the order. He's had a good year offensively. He's just a guy that is very good both ways."

Texas catcher Sandy Leon accepted a minor league assignment to Triple-A Round Rock.

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--Field Level Media