TORONTO — Corey Seager homered and drove in three runs, Jonah Heim hit a solo home run and the Texas Rangers routed the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 on Thursday night to complete a four-game sweep.
Robbie Grossman reached base four times and drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk as the Rangers (82-64) won their sixth straight, moving 2 1/2 games ahead of the Blue Jays in the AL wild-card race.
“Whenever you can sweep a team, it’s great, especially when it’s the team we’re fighting with for a wild card spot,” Heim said. “It’s great morale. I think everybody is leaving here confident.”
Texas guaranteed its first winning season since going 95-67 in 2016 and swept a four-game series for the first time since Sept. 2019 at Baltimore. The Rangers outscored Toronto 35-9 over the four games.
“We’ve been on the other end so it’s good to come in here and play really good, crisp baseball,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said.
Toronto (80-67) is 1 1/2 games behind Seattle, the third AL wild card. Tampa Bay is in the top wild-card spot.
“This series we played terrible, really, in all facets,” Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman said. “Our pitching staff gave up a lot of runs and we didn’t score many runs.”
Seager opened the scoring with a solo homer off Gausman in the first. Seager went 9 for 17 with 5 RBIs, four doubles and three walks in the series.
After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run homer off Texas right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the bottom half, Seager restored the Rangers’ lead with a two-out, two-run double in the second.
“He has set the tone in so many games,” Bochy said of Seager. “Just an elite hitter. It’s really amazing, when you look at the number of at-bats, what he’s done.”
Heim made it 4-2 with a two-out homer in the third. Heim is the fourth Rangers player to reach 85 RBIs this season, joining Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis García.
Eovaldi allowed two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Left-hander Cody Bradford (4-1) pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief.
“You can’t say enough about the job he did,” Bochy said. “That’s a tough lineup to get through, a lot of right-handed bats. He made some great pitches.”
Gausman (11-9) allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five, raising his AL-leading total to 222, but matched a career-worst with six walks.
Rangers right-hander José Leclerc struck out Guerrero to strand runners at first and second in the seventh.
Texas immediately added to its lead in the eighth. Semien hit an RBI double off Trevor Richards and Nathaniel Lowe chased Richards with a two-run single to put the Rangers up 7-2.
Rangers: Texas DH Mitch Garver left after fouling a ball off his left foot in the fourth inning. Garver finished his at-bat but flied out to leave the bases loaded. X-rays did not reveal a fracture. Bochy said Garver is day-to-day. … Bochy said INF Josh Jung (fractured left thumb) is expected to return Monday for the opener of a home series against Boston.
Blue Jays: 3B Matt Chapman was activated off the 10-day injured list before the game. Chapman hadn’t played since Aug. 27 because of a sprained right middle finger. He batted sixth and went 0 for 3 with a walk.
To make room for Chapman, Toronto optioned OF Nathan Lukes to Triple-A Buffalo.
Seager had three hits for the 16th time. … Seager’s double was his AL-leading 40th. He’s the seventh player in Rangers history with 30 home runs and 40 doubles in a season. The last to do it was Josh Hamilton in 2010. … Seager leads the AL in batting average (.345), slugging percentage (.665) and OPS (1.071).
Heim leads major league catchers with 81 RBIs.
Rangers: RHP Jon Gray (8-7, 3.96 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday as Texas begins a three-game series at Cleveland. RHP Lucas Giolito (7-13, 4.89) is scheduled to start for the Guardians.
Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos (10-10, 3.63 ERA) is expected to start Friday as Toronto opens a three-game series against Boston. RHP Brayan Bello (12-8, 3.68) is scheduled for the Red Sox.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb