ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - R.A. Dickey let only two balls get out of the infield in a start against his old team in Texas.
Those two hits were big ones.
Mitch Moreland hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning, Alex Rios had a two-run triple and the Rangers avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
The only other hit off Dickey (4-4) in his 6 1-3 innings was an infield single by Shin Soo-Choo. It was the sixth consecutive quality start for a pitcher who made his debut in the majors 13 years earlier with the Rangers, long before the knuckleball revitalized his career.
Otherwise, the Rangers relied on walks and a season-high four Toronto errors, including one the batter before Moreland’s go-ahead shot.
“It’s bizarre,” Dickey said. “You kind of marvel at the game we play sometimes.”
Moreland will be the guy at first base for Texas if Prince Fielder’s neck problem keeps him out any length of time. His second homer of the season, a two-run shot, was a line drive that barely cleared the wall in right field to break a 2-all tie.
“I’d like to see him do that more often, then he can get more playing time,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Moreland doubled in his final at-bat. “Mitch is a big part and today he stepped up huge for us.”
Washington expects Fielder to play in the next game Tuesday night against Seattle after he had an injection designed to ease the pain and pressure of a disk problem in his neck that he says goes back to last season.
If the outlook on Fielder changes, Moreland says his approach won’t.
“We’ve had to deal with adversity all year,” said Moreland, whose other homer came on April 9. “You come in every day ready to play.”
Juan Francisco and Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Blue Jays, who had won a franchise-record six straight in Texas, including a four-game sweep in their only visit last year.
“Great teams find a way to sweep series,” Dickey said. “We’re definitely going in the right direction, but there’s more there that we need to do. Today was a game we probably should have won.”
The Rangers, who snapped a four-game losing streak and stayed seven games behind Oakland in fourth place in the AL West, had gone 23 innings without an extra-base hit when Rios drove one off the right-center wall in the fourth.
The Rangers were in position to add to the lead Moreland gave them in the seventh when Toronto manager John Gibbons got the Blue Jays out of the jam with a challenge after three previous visits with umpires ended without a video review.
Michael Choice lined out to Francisco, who tagged third base with his glove as Robinson Chirinos was diving back to the bag. Dale Scott called Chirinos safe, but a review lasting nearly 3 minutes overturned it and gave Toronto an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Gibbons’ move ended up not mattering much when Choo and Adrian Beltre had run-scoring hits in the eighth.
Moreland’s homer came after Rios just beat Francisco’s throw for an error on one of the plays Gibbons considered challenging.
“We’ve been really good defensively all year,” Gibbons said.
Texas rookie right-hander Nick Martinez left with a 2-1 lead after five innings but lost the chance for his first big league win on Encarnacion’s ninth homer, a shot to left field off Aaron Poreda in the sixth.
Poreda (2-0) ended up getting the win after a scoreless seventh, and closer Joakim Soria pitched a shaky but scoreless ninth in a non-save situation on his 30th birthday.
Francisco’s home run into the upper deck in right field put Toronto up 1-0 in the fourth.
NOTES: The Blue Jays have their first day off since April 28 on Monday. … Toronto SS Jose Reyes had 10 assists, the most by any position player in the majors this season. … Rangers 2B Rougned Odor was a late scratch with a sore right wrist. He was replaced in the No. 9 spot by Luis Sardinas. … Julio Franco, who spent five of his 23 seasons in Texas and was 49 when he played his final game in 2007, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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