Todd Stottlemyre couldn't believe it. Walking off the mound following what he considered only a mediocre debut with the Texas Rangers, the fans were giving him a standing ovation.
Although stunned, Stottlemyre tipped his cap, causing the fans to holler even louder.
"I don't know if I deserved that," Stottlemyre said after the seven-run lead he left turned into an 11-9 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night. "To walk off and have them cheering like that was real nice."
Carlos Delgado powered the Blue Jays' comeback with three home runs, but it wasn't enough as John Wetteland got the last four outs for his 29th save.
"It was a weird game and it wasn't pretty," said Delgado, the seventh Blue Jay to hit three homers in a game and just the third to homer in consecutive at-bats. "It shows we have a lot of character."
The Rangers are counting on Stottlemyre to anchor their staff down the stretch as they battle with Anaheim for the AL West title. They acquired him and shortstop Royce Clayton from St. Louis for left-hander Darren Oliver and rookie third baseman baseman Fernando Tatis.
Stottlemyre was in the midst of a career-worst, four-game losing streak and hadn't pitched in 10 days because of the trade and nagging pains in his back and side.
Stottlemrye (1-0) allowed two earned rus and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out eight, including the last batter in the first four innings, all with runners in scoring position.
"I know I ran a lot of counts deep and threw a lot of pitches," Stottlemyre said. "It seemed like I was in trouble in every inning."
Stottlemyre struck out the side in the first, then fanned Alex Gonzalez with runners on second and third to end the second. Jose Canseco and Delgado struck out to end the third inning.
An unearned run put Toronto up 1-0 in the fourth, but Texas countered and went up 3-1. The Blue Jays tied it in the fifth on Delgado's first homer, but the Rangers answered with seven unearned runs off Chris Carpenter (6-6).
Delgado's blasts and three unearned runs in the seventh helped Toronto get within 10-8 and 11-9.
"They could have laid down and died, but they didn't," Blue Jays manager Tim Johnson said. "It's the best chemistry we have had all year. The guys are close and they want to go out there and win."
The Rangers are 3-0 since adding Stottlemyre, Clayton and Todd Zeile in trading-deadline deals. They've scored a total of 31 runs in that span.
"Right now, we've got a good offensive lineup," manager Johnny Oates said. "We can produce a big inning, even with two outs as we did tonight."
Juan Gonzalez, limited to one pinch-hit appearance the previous six games because of a strained right hamstring, started in right field for Texas and went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
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