TORONTO (AP) — Jordan Montgomery and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver each hit three-run home runs and the Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-0 on Wednesday night to move 1 1/2 games ahead of slumping Toronto in the AL wild-card race.
Robbie Grossman added a two-run homer as the Rangers (81-64) won their fifth straight. It’s the fourth time this season that Texas has won at least five in a row, matching Baltimore and Boston for most in the AL.
The Rangers hold the second AL wild-card spot while the Blue Jays fell one game behind Seattle for the third and final spot.
“To come in here and play this well, it does a lot for them,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said of his team. “It just reminds them how good they are.”
Lowe hit a three-run home run off left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (9-6) in the fourth. Grossman connected off Kikuchi in the fifth. Garver homered off Chad Green in the ninth. The Rangers are 69-41 when they hit at least one home run.
Grossman went 2 for 3 with two walks and scored twice.
Corey Seager reached base twice and scored a pair of runs and Lowe went 2 for 3 with a walk and scored twice.
Montgomery (9-11) allowed four hits in seven innings.
“Terrific job by him,” Bochy said. “He certainly went out there and just gave us what we needed.”
Martín Pérez worked the eighth and Ian Kennedy finished the Rangers’ 11th shutout.
Before the game, Texas learned that three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the regular season because of a strained muscle in his shoulder. General manager Chris Young said it was “probably unlikely” that Scherzer would return for the postseason if the Rangers advance.
Montgomery said Scherzer’s injury wasn’t the only thing motivating him on Wednesday.
“I definitely was bummed about Max but, honestly, I’ve kind of been furious about how I’ve been throwing the last three games,” Montgomery said. “I just took it all out there and let it out.”
The Blue Jays (80-66) have dropped five of six meetings with Texas this season.
“We’re still in a good position,” Blue Jays outfielder George Springer said. “We just need to play better. I think everybody knows that. There’s no real secret.”
Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette went 0 for 4, extending his hitless streak to four games.
Seager walked to begin the fourth and Grossman followed with a single, the first Texas hit off Kikuchi. One out later, Jonah Heim hit an RBI single and Lowe followed with a three-run drive off the center field batter’s eye, snapping a 22-game homerless streak.
“It’s no secret that I’ve been missing out in that department,” Lowe said.
“Cashing in on one finally, it feels like I can breathe a little bit.”
Seager hit a two-out single in the fifth and Grossman followed with his second homer run in two games.
“We’re getting production throughout the order right now, big hits,” Bochy said.
Kikuchi matched a season-high by allowing six runs and five hits in five innings. He gave up two home runs for the first time since June 4 against the Mets. Kikuchi is 0-3 in seven starts since his last victory, Aug. 2 against Baltimore.
Rangers: Texas put Scherzer on the 15-day IL and recalled RHP Jonathan Hernández from Triple-A Round Rock.
Blue Jays: 3B Matt Chapman (sprained right middle finger) has resumed hitting, manager John Schneider said. There is no timetable for his return.
Texas scored 10 or more runs for the 25th time this season, the most in the majors. The Rangers matched their 2008 team record for games with 10 or more runs.
Toronto was held scoreless for the ninth time. All nine have come since June 19.
RHP Kevin Gausman (11-8, 3.28 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays as Toronto tries to avoid the sweep in Thursday’s series finale. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 2.95) goes for the Rangers.