After the Rangers held on for a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre, the two clubs will gear up for Sunday's rubber match. Both games have been decided by a one-run margin.
With the victory Saturday, Texas has now won five of the first eight meetings this season, going 2-3 in two series thus far at Rogers Centre and sweeping a three-game set in Arlington. It's the first time since 2006 (they won four of six that year) that the Rangers have won a series against the Blue Jays. Overall, the Rangers are 12-16 against Toronto since the beginning of the 2010 season.
The Rangers have lost four of six on this seven-game road trip, which will come to an end Sunday. Overall, the club has lost five of nine and seven of 13. The Blue Jays have lost nine of their last 12 games.
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez will be on the mound Sunday for the Blue Jays. He did not walk a single batter in his last outing -- he surrendered three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out two against the White Sox -- for the first time since June 30.
Despite the seven strong innings, he took his third straight loss.
"He had more depth to his slider than he's had," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said afterward of Alvarez, who threw just 84 pitches. "I thought he had more separation with the velocity of his changeup and his fastball. A combination of a couple of things, but he forced [Chicago's] aggressiveness, too, by being on the plate so early in the count."
Alvarez will be up against lefty Matt Harrison, who also pitched well in his last outing but took the loss. He surrendered just one run in 6 1/3 against the Yankees on Tuesday, but has now lost three times in his last five starts. He's 2-4 with a 3.40 ERA in his last seven outings.
"I felt strong," Harrison said after losing the pitchers' duel to Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. "I didn't feel as strong as I did in the first inning, but as you make pitches, your focus level is definitely higher."
Harrison's shortest outing of the season came against the Blue Jays on May 2 in Toronto.
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is 14-for-40 (.350) with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games and is batting .312 (24-for-77) with six homers and 18 RBIs in his last 19 games to boost his batting average from .282 to .288.
Rangers: Kinsler scuffling
Second baseman Ian Kinsler does not have a hit on this road trip, going 0-for-18 over six games after he went 0-for-4 Saturday.
Overall, he's hitless in his last 20 at-bats since a third inning double on Aug. 12 against the Tigers, and has just one hit in his last 25 trips to the plate. He's 4-for-42 (.095) in his last 11 games, with his average dropping from .281 to a season-low .264.
The Rangers are 19-11 in day games this season.
Blue Jays: Encarnacion leading the way
Edwin Encarnacion is currently leading the Blue Jays in hits (123), home runs (31), RBIs (82) and walks (61). Should he finish the season leading in each of those four categories, he would be just the third Toronto player to do so.
Entering Saturday, he was the only American League player to be leading his team in those categories.
The Jays are 20-10 this season when Encarnacion hits a home run.
The Blue Jays have recorded a stolen base in 10 straight games (19 stolen bases total), the club's longest such streak since Sept. 3-14, 1998, when they stole a base in 11 consecutive games.
Toronto has lost four of its last five series dating back to July 30, posting a 5-14 record over that span.
The Rangers, who have lost 10 of their last 16 road games, are 5-12 at Rogers Centre since April 22, 2009.