TORONTO — They only got three hits, but the Toronto Blue Jays were happy to take quality over quantity Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
One of those hits, a fourth-inning double by John Buck, proved to be the difference as the Blue Jays beat the Rangers 5-2, giving them a three-game sweep and their fourth win in a row.
Buck’s bases-loaded double to centre on a 3-2 fastball from Rangers starter Colby Lewis (3-2) scored all three runners and was reviewed by the umpires to determine if it actually had been a grand slam.
Buck knew as soon as he hit it that he had a double.
“No, when I hit it, I didn’t think it was out,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t go past second because I didn’t think it was out and I wanted the umpire to tell me it was out first. It didn’t feel right off the bat.
After checking the video the umpires kept Buck at second.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston came out to talk to the umpires before they huddled and went off the field to review the play.
“I thought it was out,” Gaston said. “I just wanted them to check it. They had no problem going to check it. That’s all you can ask them to do.”
Buck is on an eight-game hit streak (11-for-25) with three homers and nine RBIs during that span.
“It was a big hit,” Gaston said. “Buck has really done a good job back there for us, not only receiving. I hope he continues to swing the bat like that, he’s been a big plus for this ball club.”
Brandon Morrow (3-3) got the win after allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out eight in six innings in front of 25,518 - the biggest home crowd since opening day.
Kevin Gregg picked up his 11th save of the season while Jason Frasor did his part, inheriting a bases-loaded, no-out situation from Morrow in the seventh and allowing just one run by coaxing a double-play grounder from pinch-hitter Vladimir Guerrero.
The other two Blue Jay hits also produced runs. Alex Gonzalez hit a run-scoring single with two out to score the first run of the four-run fourth and Jose Bautista hit his 10th homer of the season and third in two days in the sixth.
The victory put the Blue Jays (23-16) at seven games above .500 for the first time this season. They have won five of six games this season from the Rangers (20-18).
Lewis held the Blue Jays to three hits but also allowed four walks and hit a batter in 5 2/3 innings. Two of the walks and the hit batter came in the fourth and helped set up Buck’s double.
“I turned around and I lost it in the shadows,” Lewis said. “I thought it was gone. Of course, when I saw it on the replay, it was just a ball off the wall.”
Buck also reviewed video and helped formulate a game plan that helped Morrow make a strong comeback from a 1 2/3-inning outing at Fenway Park on May 10 when he gave up six earned runs and six walks.
“He was able to pitch today where the last couple of outings he just was kind of throwing,” Buck said. “By design, we talked about using all his stuff a lot earlier, even before we really had to so that he gets the feel with his pitches rather than just throwing.”
Morrow also has been adjusting to a different arm slot this year, a high three-quarters that gives him better command of his pitches, allows him to keep the ball down with better movement.
He had been using an over-the-top delivery. But pitching coach Bruce Walton says he sometimes lets the arm slot get too low and that creates problems.
Morrow said he corrected his problems for Sunday’s start by staying taller in his delivery. “When I’m really bad mechanically like I was in Boston I have a tendency to break down on my back side,” Morrow said. “Today I was pretty much a lot slower mechanically. Staying tall with my body and slowing down with my mechanics.”
Notes: Blue Jays outfielder Travis Snider missed his second consecutive game with a strained right wrist but is expected to return Monday against the Minnesota Twins. . . Mike McCoy started Sunday in left field with Fred Lewis moving from left to right field for the second game in a row. . . The Rangers activated infielder Joaquin Arias from the disabled list and returned pitcher Pedro Strop to triple A. . . Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion played his second game for class-A Dunedin on his rehabilitation assignment on Saturday and was 0-for-3 with a walk. . . Kevin Slowey (4-3, 4.62 earned-run average) will start Monday for the Twins in the opener of a two-game set against Toronto’s Dana Eveland (3-2, 4.81 ERA.).