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Rangers clip high-flying Blue Jays

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz both slammed two-run homers to power the Texas Rangers to a 5-4 win over the American League leading Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

The Rangers' (6-7) first road win of the campaign came against the red-hot Blue Jays (10-5) and ace Roy Halladay (3-1), who was handed his first loss of the season after picking up victories in his first three starts.

While Halladay leads the majors with 116 wins since 2002, he has had his problems with the Rangers.

In 20 appearances against the Rangers, Halladay is just 7-7 and surrendered 13 home runs.

"We got ourselves some opportunities against Halladay and we got it done with two outs - you know you don't do that against that guy," Texas manager Ron Washington said.

"You give him a lead he doesn't usually relinquish it, he's a damn good pitcher.

"Just stay close with him and hope he makes some mistakes. He's only human so he will make a few of them but he won't make many."

Halladay had a season-high nine strikeouts in eight innings of work but made two big errors during the opener of the three-game home stand. He served up a two-run shot to Cruz in the second inning and another two-run blast to Kinsler in the top of the seventh to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead they would not surrender.

Toronto's booming bats have fueled its drive to the top of the East division standings ahead of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays and nearly pulled out another late win against the Rangers.

Having won their opening four series, the Jays were off to their best start to a season since 2001.

The Jays loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and put the tying run on third in the ninth but failed to score on both occasions.

Five outs

Closer Frank Francisco came on in the eighth to shut the door, getting the final five outs to notch his second save of the season and make a winner of Brandon McCarthy (2-0).

"Frankie was as tough as he has ever been particularly in the ninth inning," said Washington.

"He was just trying to hold that ball game."

Despite the loss, the Blue Jays continue to set the pace in the AL, sitting 1.5 games clear of the Yankees in the East division standings.

Elsewhere, Grady Sizemore hit a three-run homer as the Cleveland Indians made double plays in six straight innings to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-7.

In other AL action, it was: Yankees 5, Athletics 3; Angels 4, Tigers 3; Mariners 4, Rays 2; and Orioles 10, White Sox 3.

In the National League, Rick Ankiel hit a go-ahead RBI double as the St Louis Cardinals rallied from four runs down to beat the New York Mets 6-4.

Ankiel's hit came after Daniel Murphy misplayed Brendan Ryan's line drive to left field for a triple.

Albert Pujols had a two-run double, Ankiel broke out of a 1-for-20 slide with three hits for the Cardinals. Khalil Greene, Joe Thurston and Ryan Ludwick also had RBIs for St Louis.

In Pittsburgh, Jeff Karstens pitched six sharp innings and Freddy Sanchez homered as the surging Pirates beat Florida 3-2. Cameron Maybin hit his first homer for Florida, which has lost two straight against the Pirates after opening the season with an 11-1 stretch.

In Washington, Adam Dunn homered as Washington's beleaguered relievers tossed three scoreless innings for the second day in a row in a 4-3 win over Atlanta.

Elsewhere, it was: Astros 8, Dodgers 5; Cubs 7, Reds 2; Phillies 11, Brewers 4; Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 6; and Giants 8, Padres 3.


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