Rangers sweep away Blue Jays

5-6-07 -- The first pitch Michael Young saw in his last at-bat was an elevated fastball. He didn't miss and the Texas Rangers got their first sweep of the season.

Young's one-out homer in the eighth inning was the Rangers' third solo shot against Toronto starter A.J. Burnett in a 3-2 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep over the Blue Jays.

"I felt good the whole time out there," Burnett said. "The problem was three mistakes."

Mark Teixeira and Kenny Lofton also homered for the Rangers -- both hitting first pitches like Young.

"The last thing you want to do against a guy with great stuff, you don't want to do him any favors," Young said. "He pitched a great game. We were fortunate to have three good swings, and lucky for us, they all left the park."

The homer by Young was the culmination of a much-needed weekend for the shortstop and his team.

Young was 2-for-4 to finish the series 8-for-13, raising his season average from .192 to .233 -- still a paltry number for a three-time All-Star with a combined .316 average over his last four straight 200-hit seasons. But he was coming off an 0-for-13 series against the New York Yankees, who swept the Rangers in Texas.

"You look back, Mike hit some balls hard and got nothing for it," manager Ron Washington said. "He's always said he never changes his approach. Right now, because he didn't change his approach, now things are starting to fall."

Toronto ended its six-game road trip without a victory, only the second time in club history the Blue Jays lost every game on a trip that lasted at least six games. The other was in September 1979.

The Blue Jays, who have lost 13 of 18 overall, have a day off before starting a three-game series at home Tuesday against Boston.

"It's not a real nice situation for us right now. We really need a day off," manager John Gibbons said. "We're losing a lot of games. They all hurt. We're just not lucky right now."

Toronto tied it with two outs in the top of the eighth on Adam Lind's RBI single to right off Joaquin Benoit (1-1). Brad Wilkerson's throw home was well up the first-base line, allowing pinch-runner Royce Clayton to score easily.

After Benoit blew the lead and got a victory, Akinori Otsuka pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Kameron Loe limited Toronto to three hits and had a career-high six strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.

In only his fourth start since returning to the rotation from the bullpen, Loe walked only one while throwing 66 of his 97 pitches for strikes. He left with a 2-1 lead, and Frank Francisco got the final out of the seventh before Benoit took over.

One of the hits allowed by Loe was a homer leading off the second by Troy Glaus, who hit his sixth of the season -- and fourth in eight games since returning from the disabled list.

Lofton hit a two-out homer in the fifth inning that barely cleared the fence and went into the Rangers bullpen to tie it at 1. Teixeira led off the sixth with his fourth homer, a 427-foot shot over the same bullpen in right-center field.

"A pitcher like Burnett, you may only get one good pitch to see," said Teixeira, who is 9-for-19 over his last five games. "I didn't get a good pitch to hit until my third at-bat and he left one over the plate."

Burnett struck out nine, including Lofton three times, in his 7 2-3 innings. He walked one and hit another batter while throwing 65 of 97 pitches for strikes.

"Nothing's going right," Burnett said. "We've got to keep playing hard and not get frustrated."

Sammy Sosa, 0-for-9 in two games since getting beaned by a 94 mph fastball Thursday night against the Yankees, got the day off. Sosa is still five homers shy of 600.

Washington said it was a normal day off after a night game for Sosa, and doesn't think the 38-year-old slugger has any lingering effects from the beaning. Sosa gets an extra day of rest since the Rangers don't open their series in New York until Tuesday.


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