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Texas at Toronto

Scoreboard
Texas (48-62)1011000025110
Toronto (55-54) «60102000x991

Thomas' two home runs lift him past Murray, propel Blue Jays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Frank Thomas is targeting a big finish, both for himself and for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Thomas hit two home runs to pass Eddie Murray for 20th place on the all-time home run list, and the Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 9-5 on Saturday.

"I really want to stay focussed and finish strong because I'm disappointed in my season so far," said Thomas, who is batting .255 with 18 homers and 60 RBI.

"I know what I'm capable of doing. It just hasn't worked out. But with two months to go, who knows? I might get on one of those hot streaks and make it a very good season."

Thomas won American League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2006 after batting .302 with 32 homers and 94 RBI over season's final 100 games.

Toronto is fifth in the wild card race, but Thomas hasn't given up hope of a postseason berth.

"You never know where we might find each other in September," he said. "I just feel we're not out of this with the lineup we've got and the way the pitchers have been pitching. The wild card is still a possibility for this team."

Toronto came into Saturday seven games behind Detroit in the Wild Card race.

Thomas hit a three-run homer in the first and added a solo homer in the third, giving him 505 for his career. It was his second multihomer game of the season and the 31st of his career.

Thomas took pride in passing Murray, his long time friend.

"He's one of my buddies, one of the greatest of all time," he said. "It's a good feeling, a real good feeling."

Right on Thomas' heels is Alex Rodriguez, who hit his 500th home run Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.

"I saw it," Thomas said of Rodriguez's historic shot. "I'm happy for him because it's been stressful for him. Now he's probably going to take off like the rest of his season has been."

The Blue Jays extended their home winning streak to seven games, and have outscored opponents 50-14 over that span.

"The guys are confident," Thomas said. "Throughout the lineup, the guys are swinging the bats. If we keep getting the consistent pitching we've been getting the last couple of weeks, you just never know what might happen."

Shaun Marcum won his third straight start for Toronto.

Texas has dropped six of eight following a season-high four-game winning streak and lost despite out-hitting Toronto 11 to nine.

"We just didn't deliver," Texas manager Ron Washington said.

Thomas homered for the first time in eight games and ended Toronto's 66-inning homerless streak. The Blue Jays had not homered since Gregg Zaun's three-run shot in the sixth inning of a July 25 victory over Minnesota, their longest drought since a 69-inning streak in 2005.

Thomas finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, while John McDonald went 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Marcum (8-4) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits over six innings. He walked none and struck out five.

Brian Wolfe pitched a perfect seventh and Brian Tallet worked the eighth. Brandon League allowed a pinch-hit homer to Brad Wilkerson and an RBI single to Adam Melhuse in the ninth before Scott Downs got the final two outs.

Texas took a 1-0 lead in the first when, with the bases loaded, Zaun was called for catcher's interference on Nelson Cruz, who struck Zaun's glove with his bat while swinging.

Toronto took control with a six-run first as the first six batters reached safely against emergency starter Willie Eyre, pitching in place of right-hander Kameron Loe (stiff back).

"We came out in the first swinging the bats and that's a big momentum changer," Marcum said. "It took the breath right out of them."

Reed Johnson singled and Lyle Overbay walked before Alex Rios and Vernon Wells hit back-to-back RBI doubles.

That brought up Thomas, who homered on the first pitch he saw from Eyre (3-4).

"I'll go weeks at a time without swinging at the first pitch," Thomas said. "You never know when I might be ready to hit one. I was happy that happened. It was big for the team there."

Troy Glaus walked and Aaron Hill flied out before Zaun singled and McDonald drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt. Johnson ended the 10-batter frame by striking out.

Eyre gave up six runs and seven hits over 2 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out two.

"Willie left some balls out over the plate and the type of hitters those guys are over there, they don't miss too much," Washington said.

Jason Botts tripled and scored on Cruz's single in the third, and Ian Kinsler doubled and scored on Michael Young's two-out single in the fourth.

McDonald capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run double in the fifth off reliever Wes Littleton.

Notes

  • Thomas, who became the 21st player in baseball history to hit 500 home runs on June 28 at Minnesota, is six homers from tying Mel Ott (511) for 19th place.
  • With his first home run of the game, Thomas also passed Ernie Banks for sole possession of 24th on the all-time list. Thomas now has 1,639.
  • Glaus and Thomas are tied for first among active players with 35 career home runs against Texas.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Rios and Vernon Wells welcome Frank Thomas to the plate after the Big Hurt's first-inning homer.  (AP)
Alex Rios and Vernon Wells welcome Frank Thomas to the plate after the Big Hurt's first-inning homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

F. Thomas
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Toronto

J. McDonald
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Texas Rangers
Frank Catalanotto, LF4110001 .239
   a- Sammy Sosa, PH1000010 .239
Ian Kinsler, 2B4220111 .247
Michael Young, SS4021022 .302
    Adam Melhuse, 3B1011000 .244
Marlon Byrd, CF5000024 .318
Jason Botts, DH4120001 .188
Nelson Cruz, RF3012001 .219
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 1B4000014 .259
Gerald Laird, C4010012 .238
Ramon Vazquez, 3B-SS3000011 .255
   b- Brad Wilkerson, PH1111000 .226
Totals38511519  
a-struck out for Catalanotto in the 9th
b-homered for Vazquez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ian Kinsler (15, Marcum)
3B - Jason Botts (1, Marcum)
HR - Brad Wilkerson (16, League)
RBI - Michael Young (59), Adam Melhuse (9), Nelson Cruz 2 (20), Brad Wilkerson (47)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Young (24), Nelson Cruz (5)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Vazquez-Saltalamacchia
Texas Rangers
Willie Eyre (L,3-4) 2.1677222 4.74
A.J. Murray 2.1122310 7.71
Wes Littleton 2.1200200 4.13
Frank Francisco 1000100 4.01
IBB - Zaun by A.J. Murray
Pitches-Strikes - Willie Eyre 67-41, A.J. Murray 49-25, Wes Littleton 37-22, Frank Francisco 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Willie Eyre 2-3, A.J. Murray 2-4, Wes Littleton 5-2, Frank Francisco 2-0
Batters Faced - Willie Eyre 15, A.J. Murray 11, Wes Littleton 11, Frank Francisco 3
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF5110014 .269
Lyle Overbay, 1B3100200 .252
Alex Rios, RF4111101 .302
Vernon Wells, CF4111100 .259
Frank Thomas, DH4224002 .255
Troy Glaus, 3B2200212 .259
Aaron Hill, 2B4110011 .275
Gregg Zaun, C2010200 .245
John McDonald, SS3023001 .274
Totals3199983  
Batting
2B - Alex Rios (30, Eyre), Vernon Wells (30, Eyre), Aaron Hill (33, Murray), John McDonald (13, Littleton)
HR - Frank Thomas 2 (18, Eyre, Eyre)
SH - John McDonald (8)
RBI - Alex Rios (64), Vernon Wells (58), Frank Thomas 4 (60), John McDonald 3 (20)
2-OUT RBI - John McDonald 2 (7)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Gregg Zaun (3, Interference)
Toronto Blue Jays
Shaun Marcum (W,8-4) 6832050 3.63
Brian Wolfe 1000020 2.45
Brian Tallet 1100010 3.38
Brandon League 0.1222111 6.75
Scott Downs 0.2000000 2.13
HBP - Botts (by Shaun Marcum)
Pitches-Strikes - Shaun Marcum 108-73, Brian Wolfe 13-10, Brian Tallet 18-11, Brandon League 18-9, Scott Downs 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shaun Marcum 8-5, Brian Tallet 1-1
Batters Faced - Shaun Marcum 28, Brian Wolfe 3, Brian Tallet 4, Brandon League 4, Scott Downs 2
Game Information
Attendance - 25231
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Charlie Reliford