Rangers-Blue Jays matchup shapes up as hitters’ duel

Two of Major League Baseball’s most powerful offenses will square off when the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays meet Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

Texas sends left-hander Matt Moore (0-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound for the series opener and the Blue Jays counter with right-hander Marco Estrada (0-0, 3.86).

The Rangers head home after a 6-3 win on Thursday afternoon in Oakland that gave Texas two wins in the four-game series. Left-hander Martin Perez picked up the win in his season debut, allowing three runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Texas was helped by a four-run second inning that staked it to an early 4-0 lead. Shin-Soo Choo added a two-run homer in the ninth to cement the victory.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre had two hits to give him 3,054 for his career, the most ever for a player born in Latin America. His second hit of the game tied him with Rickey Henderson for 24th on the career hits list.

Moore suffered the loss in his Texas debut on March 31, a 9-3 defeat at home against Houston in which he surrendered four runs and seven hits in four innings. He has gone 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 10 career starts against the Blue Jays, his third-most starts against any opponent.

Moore will be working on an extended five days of rest due to the addition of left-lander Martin Perez into the Texas rotation. While Moore didn’t give the Rangers the result he wanted in his first regular-season appearance with the team, he said the outing gave him something on which to build.

“I don’t think it got in the way of things I wanted to do (in his opener), but there was more excitement heading into the game than in spring training,” Moore said. “My first time out most of that wore off after the first inning. I had a good first inning and a good fourth inning. I have to be better with those middle innings and get us back in the dugout.”

Toronto (4-3) travels to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a 4-3 loss Wednesday at home to the Chicago White Sox. The Blue Jays’ Justin Smoak and Curtis Granderson each had two hits. Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce all drove in a run.

The Blue Jays had won four games in a row to ensure a winning initial homestand. Despite the loss on Wednesday, there was plenty to like about the opening seven games of the season.

“I like the way we played,” Toronto manager John Gibbons told MLB.com after the loss to Chicago. “It was a pretty good homestand after the way it started. I like what I’m seeing. We’re playing a pretty good brand of baseball.

“We’ve been swinging the bats, and if a couple of key guys in that lineup get some things going, we’ll be that much better.”

Right-hander Aaron Sanchez did not get a decision in the loss to Chicago after leaving after the sixth inning of a three-hit, five-hit stint that included seven strikeouts and two walks.

“I thought it was really good, to be honest,” Sanchez said of the homestand. “We lost a couple of heartbreakers in the first series against New York, but we were in games all the way until the end. If we can continue to do that, I think we’re in good shape.”

Friday’s game is the first of a nine-game, 11-day road trip for the Blue Jays in which they will play three games in Texas, three in Baltimore and three in Cleveland.

Estrada gave up three runs in four hits in a non-decision against New York in his first outing of the season. He has a 3.74 ERA in six career starts against Texas.

Toronto shortstop Aledmys Diaz is expected to return to the lineup after he missed Wednesday’s game because of back spasms.

Source: Fox Sports

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