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Blue Jays lose to Rangers in frantic three-game series

Looking to leave their Californian troubles behind, the Blue Jays headed to Texas this weekend to face off against the underwhelming Rangers (16-16), who sent the trio of Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, and Mike Minor to the mound in what quickly became one of the most exciting (and then un-exciting) series of the season.

Though they left town with a series loss, the games provided ample bits of amusing baseball, including the team’s first position player on the mound this season. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from this weekend’s tilts at Globe Life Park:

The Good

Eric Sogard (4-for-10, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB) remains one of baseball’s hottest hitters, while Randal Grichuk (4-for-11, 2B, 2 BB) and Rowdy Tellez (4-for-13, RBI, 4 TB) were also steady contributors at the plate. Billy McKinney (3-for-5, BB, R) had himself a quietly good set.

On the mound, Trent Thornton (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 SO) was surprisingly dominant, as was Tim Mayza (1.1 IP, SO, 1 H, 0 R). Ken Giles (1.0 IP, 3 SO, SV) continued his solid run, while Daniel Hudson (1.0 IP, H, BB, SO, 0 R) also turned in a solid inning, lowering his ERA to 3.68 on the season.

Sam Gaviglio (2.0 IP, 2 SO, 0 H, 0 R) continued to excel in big moments, while fellow relievers Ryan Tepera (2.0 IP, H, 2 BB, 0 R, SO) and Joe Biagini (1.1 IP, SO, 0 H, 0 R) pitched well in tight spots, with the former proving especially valuable in Friday’s marathon.

The Bad

Danny Jansen (1-for-7, SO) was shaky at the dish, despite dropping down the game-winning bunt in Friday night’s game, and Teoscar Hernandez (2-for-8, 3 SO) continued to struggle. Socrates Brito (1-for-5, 1 TB) had some subpar at-bats as well, with his only “hit” coming due to a ridiculous defensive miscue by Rangers first baseman Logan Forsythe.

Fresh off the plane from Buffalo, pitcher Derek Law (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) was roughed up, while Elvis Luciano (2.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 H) also suffered a setback.  Thomas Pannone (2.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 3 BB), starting his second game of the season, was also ambushed by the Rangers offence, earning his third loss of the campaign.

Clay Buchholz (4.0 IP, 7 ER, BB, L) faltered in the series finale, allowing eight hits and bringing his WHIP to 1.54 on the season.

The Weird

In Sunday afternoon’s 10-2 thrashing, the Blue Jays sent Luke Maile to the mound to pitch in his first ever major-league game! Throwing several slow sliders (and even a knuckleball to outfielder Delino DeShields), Maile got Shin-Soo Choo (a career .277/.379/.449 hitter) to strike out swinging.

Also, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earned his first career RBI Saturday, driving in Justin Smoak from second on a single. As Keegan Matheson of Baseball Toronto ingeniously pointed out on Twitter, Smoak’s first career RBI (which came with the Rangers) scored Vladimir Guerrero Sr. Even more coincidental is that Smoak’s first career RBI came on a sacrifice fly caught by then-former Blue Jay Alex Rios and induced by then-future Blue Jay Mark Buehrle. Baseball.

Looking Ahead

The boys in blue (and white) will head back to Rogers Centre Monday to open up a three-game series against the 20-11 Twins, who’ll pit Martin Perez (4-0, 3.41 ERA, 30 SO), Jose Berrios (5-1, 2.91 ERA, 46 SO), and Kyle Gibson (2-1, 4.68 ERA, 29 SO) against Marcus Stroman (1-4, 2.20 ERA, 39 SO), Aaron Sanchez (3-2, 3.09 ERA, 29 SO), and Thornton.