TORONTO (AP) — Robbie Grossman hit a two-run home run, Max Scherzer pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings before leaving because of a right triceps spasm and the Texas Rangers beat Toronto 6-3 on Tuesday night, leapfrogging the Blue Jays in the AL wild-card race.
Corey Seager had three hits, drove in a run and scored twice as the Rangers (80-64) won their fourth straight and clinched the season series against Toronto (80-65) with two games remaining. Seager finished 3 for 4 with an intentional walk.
Scherzer (13-6) snapped a four-start winless streak. The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two. He threw 73 pitches, 49 for strikes.
“We needed a good team win and we got it,” Scherzer said.
Manager Bruce Bochy and the trainer came to the mound in the sixth inning after Scherzer felt discomfort on his first pitch to Bo Bichette. Following a brief discussion, a frustrated-looking Scherzer walked off and was replaced by right-hander José Leclerc.
Scherzer said he began feeling tightness while warming up for the sixth and hoped it would pass
“When I threw that first curveball to Bichette, it just felt like a charley horse,” Scherzer said.
Scherzer attempted to deliver two warm up pitches but wasn’t able to do so.
“When I got on the mound and was trying to go through my motion, I could just tell it didn’t release,” Scherzer said of his sore muscle. “I could feel I just wasn’t going to be able to throw another baseball.”
Ranger manager Bruce Bochy said he preferred a cautious approach rather than asking Scherzer to continue.
“We did not want him to pitch through it,” Bochy said. “We were not going to take any chances there. It’s too bad because he really had good stuff.”
Bochy said Scherzer will undergo an MRI on Wednesday.
Scherzer allowed a season-high seven earned runs in his previous outing, a loss to Houston last Wednesday.
Leclerc pitched one inning, Brock Burke got one out, Chris Stratton worked 1 1/3 innings and Aroldis Chapman gave up rookie Davis Schneider’s solo home run in the ninth.
Schneider’s home run was his eighth.
Five of Toronto’s seven hits were for extra-bases but the Blue Jays went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
“We just haven’t really strung the hits in a row together so far,” manager John Schneider said.
Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (3-3) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Texas jumped on Ryu early in the count to open the scoring in the fourth. Seager’s leadoff single on the first pitch of the inning was the 1,000th hit of his career. Grossman followed with a first-pitch home run, his ninth.
Seager hit a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on Jonah Heim’s sacrifice fly.
Leody Taveras and pinch-hitter Josh Smith hit back-to-back doubles off Yimi García in the seventh. Left-hander Tim Mayza came on to face Seager, who made it 5-0 with an RBI double.
Blue Jays infielder Cavan Biggio hit an RBI single off Burke in the seventh, and pinch hitter Ernie Clement drove in a second Toronto run with a groundout.
Ranger outfielder Travis Jankowski made it 6-2 with an RBI single off Trevor Richards in the eighth.
Blue Jays: Toronto put Brandon Belt (back spasms) on the 10-day IL and recalled OF Nathan Lukes from Triple-A Buffalo. Belt started at DH Monday, his first appearance since Sept. 2 after missing time because of a sore back and an illness, but exited because of back spasms after striking out twice in two at-bats.
ON THE DOUBLE
Seager had two doubles, raising his AL-leading total to 39.
INSULT AND INJURY
Blue Jays 1B Spencer Horwitz struck out swinging in the fourth on a pitch from Scherzer that broke in and hit the left-handed rookie on his back knee.
Toronto LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-5, 3.57 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday against Rangers LHP Jordan Montgomery (8-11, 3.62).