- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

TORONTO (AP) - Rangers manager Jeff Banister is learning plenty about his team as it struggles through a lengthy losing streak.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his seventh career grand slam and added a solo homer as the Toronto Blue Jays handed slumping Texas its season-high sixth straight loss, 12-2 Friday night.

“Every club has certain stretches,” Banister said. “This is a stretch of the season where we’re going to find out just how tough we are and how much grit we have.”

It’s the longest losing streak for Texas since an eight-game slide from Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 2014. The Rangers (37-37) fell to .500 for the first time since May 30, when they were 25-25.

“We need to figure out what we can do better,” Banister said.

Encarnacion had three hits and narrowly missed a third home run in his final at-bat, flying out to the warning track in left against infielder Adam Rosales, the ninth Rangers position player in team history to take the mound.

“That was kind of a unique opportunity,” Rosales said. “I never thought I’d pitch in the major leagues.”

The last Rangers position player to do it was J.P. Arencibia, who pitched against Tampa Bay on Aug. 13, 2014.

“I just threw all straight balls,” Rosales said. “I didn’t try to put anything on them. I tried one in warm-ups, but that wasn’t going to happen. I don’t have the control with the offspeed.”

Rosales gave up a solo homer to Danny Valencia on what was called an 82 mph changeup.

“It should have been slower,” Rosales joked.

Prince Fielder hit his 300th career homer, joining father Cecil in the 300-home run club and giving baseball its second father-son duo to reach the plateau. Bobby Bonds (332) and career leader Barry Bonds (762) are the only other father and son to reach the 300-homer mark.

“That’s pretty good company,” Fielder said.

Russell Martin also hit a solo shot for the Blue Jays, who improved to 17-7 in June and boosted their ML-leading run total to 417.

Mark Buehrle (8-4) pitched seven innings to win his third straight decision, improving to 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA in five June starts. Buehrle allowed two runs and five hits.

Encarnacion gave the Blue Jays all the runs Buehrle would need with a first-inning blast to center off Nick Martinez (5-4), then went deep off Ross Detwiler in the seventh. It was Encarnacion’s 20th multihomer game.

“Every time he steps in the box, he’s got a chance to go deep,” manager John Gibbons said.

Encarnacion’s slam marked the ML-leading 29th time Toronto has scored four or more runs in an inning.

“We’ve been doing that all year,” Gibbons said. “It’s not easy. We’ve been making it look easy, but it’s not that easy.”

Martinez allowed nine runs, eight earned, and nine hits in six innings. He has won just once in his past six starts.

“I fell behind a lot of guys,” Martinez said of his shake first. “I was just trying to find the strike zone.”

Toronto has won 11 of the past 14 meetings with Texas, including eight of 12 at home.


Fielder went 2 for 4 with a double and leads the majors with 31 multihit games.


Rangers: RHP Matt Harrison (back surgery) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session in front of Banister and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Harrison is set to throw another session Sunday.

Blue Jays: Toronto activated 2B Devon Travis (left shoulder) off the 15-day DL and optioned INF Munenori Kawasaki to Triple-A.


Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in his past six starts, lowering his ERA from 4.26 to 2.98 in that span. Gallardo has not allowed a run in his past 15 innings.

Blue Jays: Toronto selected LHP Matt Boyd from Triple-A Buffalo to make his MLB debut Saturday. Boyd went 7-2 with a 1.26 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A and Triple-A this season. He’ll start in place of RHP Aaron Sanchez (strained back muscle). RHP Rob Rasmussen was optioned to Buffalo.

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