TORONTO -- Melky Cabrera homered and scored twice while Edwin Encarnacion sparked Toronto's four-run rally in the sixth inning as the Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers 6-1 on Friday night.
Starter Esmil Rogers and four Toronto relievers combined to allow just four hits as the Blue Jays took the opener of the three-game series at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth inning and Encarnacion drove a pitch from Rangers starter Nick Tepesch into left-centre field to push two runs across. Toronto (26-34) added two more runs in the frame on sacrifice flies by Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia.
Texas (36-24) entered play with the best record in the American League and started strong by opening the scoring in the first inning.
Jurickson Profar hit a one-out single up the middle and moved to second on a balk. A.J. Pierzynski lined out before Adrian Beltre lashed a single to centre field.
Outfielder Colby Rasmus hurried the throw home but it was well offline and Profar scored easily.
The Rangers stranded two runners in the fourth inning. Pierzynski singled to open the frame and moved to second on a David Murphy walk.
Rogers got Craig Gentry to ground out to Maicer Izturis at third base who stepped on the bag for the force out.
Tepesch (3-5) retired the Jays in order the first time through the lineup. But Cabrera led off the bottom half of the fourth with a no-doubt solo shot just inside the foul pole in right field for his third homer of the season.
Aaron Loup was dominant after relieving Rogers in the fifth inning. Four of his five outs were strikeouts.
In the sixth, Munenori Kawasaki was hit by a pitch, Cabrera singled and Jose Bautista walked to load the bases. Encarnacion cashed in Kawasaki and Cabrera before moving to third on Lind's fly to right field, which scored Bautista.
Arencibia followed with a towering fly ball to centre field that scored Encarnacion.
The Blue Jays added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Kawasaki scored on a single by Cabrera, who had three of Toronto's six hits.
Rogers allowed three hits, one earned run, one walk and had six strikeouts in four innings. Loup, Neil Wagner (1-0), Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar all worked at least an inning of relief.
Tepesch allowed five hits, six earned runs and two walks while striking out six.
Announced attendance was 36,010 and the game took two hours eight minutes to play.
Notes: The Blue Jays recalled catcher Josh Thole and selected the contract of infielder Andy LaRoche from triple-A Buffalo before the game. Catcher Henry Blanco was designated for assignment. ... Reports indicated pitcher Chien-Ming Wang had opted out of his minor-league deal with the New York Yankees and was close to signing with the Blue Jays. When asked about it during a pre-game media availability, Gibbons said he didn't "know anything about that." ... Gibbons came out to argue with home plate umpire Jerry Meals after Kawasaki was called out for stepping on the plate after a bunt attempt in the third inning. ... Left-hander Mark Buehrle (2-4) is scheduled to start for Toronto on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2).