Brad Lincoln, who pitched a career-high four scoreless innings for Toronto, was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo after the game. The Blue Jays will call up another reliever on Sunday.
“I kept my team in the game and we won, but the business side of it does kind of stink,” Lincoln said of his demotion.
This was the third time in seven games the Blue Jays have gone to extra innings. They lost a 17-inning game at San Diego on May 31 but beat the Padres in 11 innings on June 2.
The Rangers played 18 innings for the fifth time in their history. They last did it on June 24, 2004, beating Seattle 9-7.
Toronto had played 18 innings once before, beating the Angels on July 28, 2005, when current Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker earned the win in a 2-1 victory.
Texas reliever Jason Frasor pitched one inning for the Blue Jays that day, and also worked an inning for the Rangers in this one.
Frasor said while such lengthy games are physically tiring for position players, they’re mentally draining for relievers.
“If you’re sitting down in the bullpen, it’s just the anticipation, the preparation, it just exhausts you,” Frasor said. “You’re going ‘Is this going to be me, is this going to me be?’ and then it’s not you. You just keep waiting and waiting and it’s exhausting.”
Toronto led 3-1 heading into the ninth, but the Rangers rallied with two runs off closer Casey Janssen behind a trio of Texas pinch-hitters. Leonys Martin singled, David Murphy walked and A.J. Pierzynski drove in a run with a broken-bat single, then Elvis Andrus tied it with a sacrifice fly.
According to STATS, the last time three Rangers pinch-hitters reached safely was July 15, 1999, against Arizona.
The Blue Jays escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the 10th. After Dustin McGowan struck out Jeff Baker, Juan Perez came on and got Martin to line out to Jose Bautista in right, with Lance Berkman thrown out at home plate to end the inning.