TORONTO (AP) - J.A. Happ turned things up a notch against the Texas Rangers.
He won his second straight start, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 31st home run and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Yu Darvish and the Rangers 3-2 Friday night, handing Texas its fourth loss in five games.
``I just wanted to throw everything with conviction, along with the cutter,' said Happ, who won his second straight start. ``Sometimes I don't quite throw that with enough conviction. Tonight I was able to.'
Happ (2-1) fanned six straight Rangers in one stretch and struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced.
Happ matched a Blue Jays record by striking out six straight in the second and third innings. Ted Lilly struck out six in a row against Boston in 2004, and Marc Rzepczynski did it against the New York Yankees in 2010.
Blue Jays catcher Jeff Mathis had ``a lot of fun' handling Happ.
``He was hitting his fastball away to those righties with some good angles,' Mathis said. ``When he started to put it out there, and he would elevate it some, he got some swing-throughs.'
Happ gave up one runs and two hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
``You've got to tip your hat to him,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``If it was one of our pitchers that did it, I'd be raving.'
Texas outfielder David Murphy, who struck out to end the second, said what the left-handed Happ lacks in velocity, he makes up for with deception.
``He was about 90, 91 tonight but the ball gets on you a little quicker than that,' Murphy said. ``It might say 90, 91 but really it looks like 95.
``His fastball can be very effective, he showed that tonight,' Murphy added. ``We weren't getting around on it. He definitely had an impressive outing.'
Steve Delabar and Brandon Lyon each got two outs, Aaron Loup struck out the only batter he faced, Brad Lincoln got the final out of the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Darvish (12-9) lost for the second time in three starts, allowing three runs and three hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out 10.
``From the beginning, I don't think my fastball had a lot of life to it,' Darvish said through a translator. ``But more often than not I was able to keep the ball down with my cutter, slider, all my other pitches. Overall, I think I was able to stay down and be effective.'
For Darvish, it was the seventh time this season he's reached double figures in strikeouts, tying him with Jim Bibby (1973) for the Rangers rookie mark.
Encarnacion, who became the first major leaguer to homer off Darvish when he took him deep in an April 30 Texas win at Rogers Centre, did it again with a second deck blast in the first, his 31st.
``Only one (bad) pitch to a guy that's having an unbelievable season,' Rangers catcher Geovany Soto said. ``It was just that one pitch, too. After that he had a really impressive outing. He was pounding the zone with his fastball and he was accurate.'
Encarnacion returned to the lineup after sitting out Thursday's loss to the White Sox with a sore shoulder and wrist, the result of a diving play in left field Wednesday.
``I felt good today,' Encarnacion said. ``I can do my swing 100 percent.'
Held without a hit through the first four innings, Texas got on the board in the fifth. Michael Young and David Murphy led off with back-to-back singles and both runners moved up on Soto's sacrifice before Young scored on Craig Gentry's RBI groundout.
Toronto restored its two-run lead in the fifth. Anthony Gose tripled on a broken bat hit that dropped in front of a diving Gentry in center and scored on Rajai Davis' single.
``I don't know if I've ever seen a triple on a broken bat before,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ``Some kind of electrifying speed with Gose on the basepaths.'
Texas cut the gap to 3-2 with an unearned run off Delabar in the seventh. Third baseman Omar Vizquel made a fielding error on Mike Olt's bases loaded grounder, allowing Adrian Beltre to score. Lyon came on and ended the inning by getting Ian Kinsler to ground into a fielder's choice.
NOTES: Rangers RHP Ryan Dempster is not with the team and will miss his scheduled start Saturday for personal reasons, the team said. Recently demoted starter Roy Oswalt will start in his place. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz (right hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup but came on as a pinch hitter in the seventh. Beltre, who is also nursing a sore hamstring, started at DH for the Rangers. ... Toronto OF Jose Bautista (left wrist) took the day off Friday after hitting in the cage the past two days. Bautista, out since July 17, is expected to take part in full batting practice Saturday and Sunday before beginning a rehab assignment. ... Farrell had little to say about reports that he is a candidate to take over as manager of the Boston Red Sox. ``I'm under contract here,' said Farrell, who served as Boston's pitching coach from 2006 to 2010. ``I'm not going to comment on speculation and conjecture.'
The Associated Press News Service
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