for this game

Mendoza, Laird lead Rangers past Blue Jays

Aug 4, 2008 - 4:30 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- With two rookie pitchers facing each other at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it wasn't surprising to see each deliver inconsistent efforts.

In the end, Luis Mendoza overcame some early struggles and Gerald Laird belted two home runs to help the Texas Rangers record an 8-4 victory over David Purcey and the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday night.

The triumph in the rubber match of a three-game series enabled the Rangers to stay six games back of Boston in the chase for the American League wild card spot, while the Blue Jays fell one game under .500 and 8.5 back of the Red Sox.

Texas rebounded from an early 4-0 deficit to take the lead 5-4 in the fifth inning on Laird's second home run of the night.

With his fifth and sixth home runs of the season coming in back-to-back innings, Laird collected four RBI while rookie Chris Davis also belted a home run and added an RBI single as well.

"I didn't try to do too much, I just tried to put some good swings on them," Laird said. "He just left a couple of pitches out over the middle of the plate and I hit them hard."

"It seems like we're never out of a game," Davis said. "We've been down five, six, seven runs and we just keep getting guys on and pushing them across the plate. It shows us that we're really never out of it."

Purcey (1-2), who was making just his fourth major league start, had a solid start but faded as the game progressed. He carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning and surrendered just three hits, but all three were home runs and he only lasted five innings.

Overall, Purcey surrendered five runs on three hits, walking two, striking out four and hitting two batters.

"I made a couple of mistakes over the plate against a good-hitting team and they capitalized on those mistakes," Purcey said. "I've got to learn to stay within myself and not overthrow."

"Three mistakes cost him," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "But he threw the ball good. I think he'll be OK. We've got to look at this kid some more."

Ultimately, it was Mendoza (3-4) who had the more impressive outing, despite surrendering three runs in the first inning. After retiring the last nine batters he faced, Mendoza pitched a career-high seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits, walking one and striking out two.

"Mendoza hung in there," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It looked like after that first inning, he was about to fall apart, but he gathered himself, started attacking the strike zone. He settled down and that's what it's all about. He kept us in the ballgame and gave us a chance to get something going and we ended up putting enough runs on the board to win it."

"I struggled in the first inning, but when I get to the fifth inning, I felt like maybe the sixth would be my last inning, so I just tried to pound the strike zone and make the best pitches I could," Mendoza said. "I think it's the first time I threw seven innings this year. Ron came to me and asked me how I feel and I said, 'Give me one more.' I had given up four runs and I just wanted that one real bad."

Washington indicated that Mendoza earned himself another start in the rotation with his performance and would start again next Friday at Baltimore.

"Tonight has definitely proved that he has capability," Washington said. "That's all I ever try to tell my pitching staff, 'If you just go out there, hit your spots' - and it's not going to happen all the time, because you got young kids out there. But if you hit your spots - the key is to just try to get that more consistent. I think he really got over a hump tonight."

"Every time I go out there, I want to show them I can stay here and I can pitch," Mendoza said. "I've been feeling good. Every start I'm feeling stronger and that I can do this."

Frank Francisco threw a scoreless eighth and Eddie Guardado worked the ninth to preserve the Texas win.

The Blue Jays jumped on the scoreboard immediately, scoring three in the top of the first. After Mendoza walked Marco Scutaro, Alex Rios singled, and Lyle Overbay's double brought home Scutaro. Rios scored on Adam Lind's sacrifice fly, and Matt Stairs drove in Overbay with a single to left.

Mendoza settled down a bit after that, retiring the next seven, but the Jays struck again in the fourth, when Lind came home on Brad Wilkerson's ground out to make it 4-0.

Meanwhile, Purcey had yet to allow a hit, but after he walked Ian Kinsler to lead off the fourth, Laird belted his first home run of the game into the Texas bullpen beyond right center.

"The first time through the lineup, he was kind of mowing us down," Davis said of Purcey. "After we got kind of a good look at him, got to see some pitches, it seemed liked we locked on and were able to get some hits on him."

A solo shot by Davis, his 11th in just 33 games this season since his recall from Class AAA Oklahoma, pulled the Rangers to within 4-3 in the fifth inning.

"It was a slider, it was out over the plate," Davis said of his home run pitch. "He had thrown me a lot of fastballs before that. I wasn't really sitting on that pitch, but I just told myself to look for something out over the plate and he left it up and I hit it out."

Purcey then hit the next batter, Travis Metcalf, on the shin, and one out after that, Laird smacked his second home run into the right center field bullpen to give the Rangers their first lead of the night. It was Laird's third career multi-homer game.

"The key to Laird, I think, is he's starting to take the ball the other way," Washington said. "Sometimes you work on a lot of things and it doesn't kick in for a while. That's why the game is considered a process. He's been working for a long time to reach this point and finally, it's clicking in."

The Rangers added three more in the eighth to put it away. Marlon Byrd's RBI double off reliever Jesse Carlson brought home Michael Young, Davis' RBI single scored Josh Hamilton and Ramon Vazquez's sacrifice fly drove in Byrd.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 7 0
    TEXAS 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 3 x 8 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - DAVID PURCEY, JOHN PARRISH (6TH), SHAWN CAMP (7TH), JESSE
    CARLSON (8TH), JASON FRASOR (8TH) AND GREGG ZAUN
    TEX - LUIS MENDOZA, FRANK FRANCISCO (8TH), EDDIE
    G

    Aug 3 10:58 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY RAMON VAZQUEZ SCORED MARLON BYRD.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C DAVIS ON SECOND, B BOGGS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    TEXAS 8 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: I KINSLER (.319, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 8  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 3 10:45 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHRIS DAVIS SCORED JOSH HAMILTON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C DAVIS ON FIRST, B BOGGS ON SECOND, M BYRD
    ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    TEXAS 7 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: R VAZQUEZ (.322, 1-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 7  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 3 10:43 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARLON BYRD SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BYRD ON SECOND, J HAMILTON ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    TEXAS 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: D MURPHY (.269, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 3 10:40 PM
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    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 3 10:40 PM
  • 45
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsAug 3 10:06 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GERALD LAIRD (6) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF DAVID PURCEY SCORED TRAVIS METCALF.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4, TEXAS 5
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.289, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 3 9:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHRIS DAVIS (11) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF DAVID PURCEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4, TEXAS 3
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: T METCALF (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 3 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GERALD LAIRD (5) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF DAVID PURCEY SCORED IAN KINSLER.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4, TEXAS 2
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.290, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsAug 3 9:08 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BRAD WILKERSON SCORED ADAM LIND.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M STAIRS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    TEXAS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: G ZAUN (.243, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 4, Rangers 0  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 3 8:57 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 3 3 3 0
    TEXAS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - DAVID PURCEY
    TEX - LUIS MENDOZA

    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: I KINSLER (.321, 14 HR, 62 RBI)
    G LAIRD (.311, 4 HR, 27 RBI)
    M YOUNG (.290, 8 HR, 60 RBI)

    Blue Jays 3, Rangers 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 3 8:17 PM
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    roots
    Supernatural24 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays vs. RangersAug 3 4:45 PM