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TEX@TOR: Lawrie wins it with a walk-off home run

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays fell in a rut early, dug themselves out and then had to do it all over again.

Toronto entered the ninth inning with a 7-6 lead over the Rangers, overcoming a five-run deficit from earlier in the game. But Francisco Cordero was unable to close things out, as he allowed one run and blew his second save of the season. Luckily for the Blue Jays, they still had the bottom half of the frame and a player leading off the inning who doesn't shy away from the big moments.

Brett Lawrie worked a 3-2 count on Rangers reliever Mike Adams before launching a walk-off homer over the fence in left to power the Blue Jays to an 8-7 win over Texas at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

"I like being put in big situations," said Lawrie, who hit his second career walk-off homer at Rogers Centre. "You can't do it if you're not put in that situation. Fail or succeed, I just like being put in a situation to help my teammates out. It worked out for me tonight."

The energetic third baseman didn't realize it was going out when he intially hit it and raced out of the box to try to get extra bases before he saw the umpire signal home run. By that time, a mob of teammates were waiting for the 22-year-old at home plate, and Lawrie greeted them by jumping emphatically in the air before touching home plate.

"I was just locked in," said Lawrie, who hit his third homer of the season. "I just tried to help my guys out and help the team. Those are ones [the ninth-inning at-bat] you get pumped up for and ready to go.

"It was a cutter, he was cutting me the whole at-bat. He threw me one fastball that I fouled back. He was trying to get me out front and try to roll me over, and I kind of stayed back on it and got a pitch I could drive -- I caught it off the barrel good."

Before Lawrie sent the crowd of 18,774 into a frenzy, Michael Young had silenced them by ripping a two-out offering from Cordero to center field to tie the game at 7. The Blue Jays' interim closer got two quick outs before allowing three consecutive singles, wasting a seventh-inning rally that put him in the save situation.

The Blue Jays entered the seventh trailing, 6-4, but loaded the bases with none out, and after tying the game on Jeff Mathis' RBI groundout, Kelly Johnson capped off the three-run frame by hitting a first-pitch changeup from Alexi Ogando to center for an RBI single that put Toronto ahead for the first time in the game.

Johnson had a big night at the plate. He was involved in a four-run third inning, which was highlighted by him and Jose Bautista hitting back-to-back homers -- the first time the Blue Jays have done that this season -- off Rangers starter Neftali Feliz. Bautista blasted a no-doubter to left after Johnson connected on a three-run shot to opposite field for his fifth homer of the season.

"It was a big win, it's a good team, the best team in the league right now," Johnson said. "We are scrapping for wins, runs. We're trying to support our starting pitching and having a win like that is very big. I think the fans got really excited, we got excited. Walk-off homer, it's a big win.

"[Lawrie's] energy is awesome, it rubs off on everybody."

Bautista's home run comes on a day that manager John Farrell reiterated that he would not move his slumping All-Star down from the three-hole. Farrell explained how Bautista, after hitting a Major League-leading 97 homers the past two seasons, has earned his spot in the lineup and that a rough April was not going to change that.

"Hopefully, it's a chance for him to just take a deep breath and take some of the weight off his shoulders," Farrell said of Bautista, who hit his fourth homer and raised his average to .186 in the process. "He's been pressing, there's been no doubt about it. Sometimes you look at the elite players around the game and you think they're automatic, but they're human and he has maintenance requirements and maintenance work just like anybody else. But hopefully, this is a chance for him to get on track a little bit."

Feliz was given a 5-0 lead, but he let the Blue Jays back in the game and was removed in the sixth after issuing back-to-back walks -- his career-high fifth and sixth of the game. He allowed four runs on four hits while striking out four, earning the no-decision in his first start since April 21.

The Rangers gave Feliz an early lead by roughing up Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison. After striking out the first four batters of the game, Hutchison struggled in the second inning, as the rookie right-hander allowed five runs on five hits, highlighted by an Ian Kinsler two-run double to right field on a full count with two outs.

Hutchison settled down after that, allowing one more run the rest of the game, and ended with a career-high five strikeouts while completing six innings for the first time in his career.

"The line score is going to say six runs, five earned in six innings," Farrell said of his 21-year-old starter. "But the last four innings, he gave us a chance to stay in that game and continue to chip away and that will go unnoticed, but his effort tonight was a pivotal one in this game."

The Blue Jays will look to hand the Rangers back-to-back losses for the first time in the regular season since last August when the two clubs meet Wednesday in the finale.

"Lawrie deserves some credit," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He hit the ball out of the ballpark. Mike Adams has been flawless. That's why I say there's no perfection in this game. But I'm not going to cry, we'll bounce back tomorrow."

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