ARLINGTON, Texas – Adam Lind helped power the Toronto Blue Jays to a big early lead with his first career grand slam. He then put the game finally out of reach after Texas cut an 11-run deficit to one.
Lind finished with a career-high eight RBIs after adding a solo homer and three-run double in a seven-run ninth for Toronto in a wild 18-10 over the slipping Rangers on Monday night.
“You know you have to outslug these guys. They came back tonight and showed why they’re in the hunt for the playoffs,” Lind said. “I hit it on the sweet spot on a couple of pitches.”
Rod Barajas also homered twice and drove in five runs. He hit a three-run homer in a five-run first, a sacrifice fly in the third and led off the fifth with a 438-foot blast into the Toronto bullpen in left-centre for an 11-0 lead.
And, when the Rangers started hitting, it appeared that might not be enough.
“No lead is comfortable here. You have to produce,” said Barajas, who played in Texas from 2004-06. “Once we got to 11 runs, I was hoping it would be good. … We were lucky to hang on.”
The Rangers pulled to 11-10 in the seventh on Chris Davis’ sacrifice fly to deep centre, where Vernon Wells made a leaping catch on the warning track to keep another runner at first base. But they didn’t score again, coming up short of their largest comeback in team history.
“We put ourselves in the position to make a push there at the end. You have to give credit, they piled on runs in the ninth,” Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. “We don’t really consider this to be a deflating loss.”
But the Rangers (72-58) wrapped up a losing August and dropped four games behind idle Boston in the AL wild-card race.
Lind’s slam made it 10-0 with no outs in the fourth and chased Rangers rookie left-hander Derek Holland (7-9).
The eight RBIs matched the most in the majors this year. They were also the most in the American League in two years, and the most by a Toronto player since Roy Howell had a team-record nine 32 years ago.
Toronto set a season high for runs after being limited to 14 runs combined the previous five games.
“We finally score some runs and can’t hold it,” manager Cito Caston said. “If you walk away losing this game, what a shame.”
Toronto led for good after Marco Scutaro had a leadoff single and Aaron Hill an RBI double within the first three pitches of the game by Holland, who had been 4-0 his last five starts at Rangers Ballpark.
“I was pitiful,” Holland said. “Definitely didn’t have command. I didn’t throw the ball where it needed to be thrown. … I couldn’t establish any of my pitches.”
An inning before Wells’ nifty catch, Texas stranded two runners when Marlon Byrd had an inning-ending deep flyball to centre after RBI singles by Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
Brett Cecil (6-3) barely made it through the five innings needed for the victory. After four scoreless innings, Toronto’s rookie left-hander gave up seven runs and took a Hamilton liner off his left hip before finally getting the final out of the fifth.
Kinsler had a two-run triple before Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer that made it 11-7. In between, Michael Young had a sacrifice fly and Hamilton got an infield single with the hard shot off Cecil.
After Gaston and a trainer checked on him, Cecil struggled through the rest of the inning before finally striking out David Murphy, the 10th batter in the frame, for the final out.
Young extended his majors-best hitting streak to 18 games overall with a single in the fourth, matching a Rangers record with a hit in his 23rd consecutive home game.
The 16 homers by Barajas, who has six of them his last 10 games, are his most since a career-best 21 in 2005 while playing for the Rangers.
NOTES: The only other player in the majors with eight RBIs this season was Washington’s Josh Willingham at Milwaukee on July 27. The last AL player with at least eight RBIs was Garret Anderson of the Los Angeles Angels with 10 in a game two years ago. … The largest deficit Texas has overcome to win was 10 runs. The Rangers trailed Detroit 14-4 on May 8, 2004, before rallying to win 16-15. … Texas was 14-15 in August. … It was Barajas’ seventh career multihomer game. His only other one this season was also against the Rangers, in Toronto on April 22. Lind had his second multihomer game, both this season in Arlington. The other was June 8. … Young matched Ivan Rodriguez’s 23-game home hitting streak set in 1995.