ARLINGTON, Texas — The unexpected early return to the lineup by Ian Kinsler was a nice surprise for the Texas Rangers.
Having their All-Star second baseman back still wasn't enough to end their longest losing streak of the season.
Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus both hit two-run homers while Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched into the sixth inning against his former team as the Blue Jays stretched their winning streak to four games with a 6-1 victory Saturday.
The Rangers lost their fifth game in a row, all at home. They have lost 10 of 14 overall and fallen out of first place in the AL West.
"We're just trying to play good baseball and win games," Kinsler said. "Right now, it's not working."
Though Dickey (6-8) allowed 10 base runners (seven singles and three walks), admittedly pitching without his best stuff, he allowed only one run over 5 2-3 innings.
"Even when he's not at his best, he competes," manager John Gibbons said. "He battled, got out of some jams."
The Rangers have scored only six runs the past five games, and were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position Saturday.
"It's just simple baseball, getting base hits with runners in scoring position," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not just one part of the batting order. It's up and down the lineup. We gave ourselves more opportunities today than we have in the last week or so."
Lind put the Blue Jays ahead to stay in the first, when his seventh homer of the season ricocheted high off pole down the right field line. Rasmus hit his 12th homer, and second in two games, in the fourth to make it 4-0.
Those homers accounted for all four runs off Josh Lindblom (0-2), who went six innings on his 26th birthday. The right-hander struck out two in his third start in place of injured Alexi Ogando.
"One was a physical mistake. I left a pitch up to Lind," Lindblom said. "One was a mental mistake, the wrong pitch to the wrong guy. Rasmus has shown he's struggling with the ball in. In that situation, I've got to challenge him in."
Washington said those two unexecuted pitches "have been our Achilles heel with our pitching lately."
Then again, the offense has been awful lately.
Texas, which lost 8-0 on Friday night, ended a 21-inning scoring drought in the sixth. Nelson Cruz and David Murphy had consecutive bloop singles before Chris McGuiness grounded a hit through the right side of the infield. Cruz scored when Leonys Martin beat out a potential inning-ending double-play grounder.
Martin was 3 for 4, getting the RBI on the only at-bat he didn't get a hit.
His fielder's choice ended Dickey's day and the longest scoreless streak by the Rangers since 25 innings in a row without a run in September 2009, also the last time they lost five games in a row at home.
Texas also had the bases loaded in the fourth before McGuiness struck out to end the inning. There were two runners on with no outs in the fifth before Dickey – a first-round pick by Texas in 1996 – retired the Nos. 2-4 hitters in order.
`We got (Dickey) in trouble a few times. He got out of it," Washington said. "Some of it was him, but most of it was us."
Kinsler, out since May 18 with a ribcage injury, was supposed to stay at Double-A Frisco for at least three games and not expected back before Sunday at the earliest. That changed when after an 11-inning game on Friday night, he declared himself healthy and ready to rejoin the team – even after going 0 for 8 with a walk in the two rehab games.
Texas had a 6 1-2-game lead in the AL West when Kinsler got hurt, but then went 11-14 without the three-time All-Star.
"I was a little off early, but I felt like I had a good at-bat the last at-bat. My timing felt good," Kinsler said. "My legs didn't hurt, so there's no reason why I can't move and play defense."
While he was 0 for 4 with a walk Saturday, Kinsler was involved in a couple of highlight-worthy defensive plays that ended innings without him even. putting his hand on the ball.
When Lindblom deflected Josh Thole's high hopper, Kinsler scooped the ball with his glove and to first base in one motion to end the fourth. An inning later, Kinlser went toward to middle to glove Melky Cabrera's grounder and was stumbling when he pushed the ball toward shortstop Elvis Andrus, who made a nice catch and pivot of his own to complete a double play.
Notes: Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil got out all four batters he faced, stretching his scoreless streak to 16 innings. He has retired 24 batters in a row. ... Toronto's win evened the all-time series between the teams to 195-195. ... Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland, rehabbing a right hamstring strain, is expected to play some games for Frisco this week. He is on track to come off the DL when eligible Friday.