TORONTO (AP) — With every Toronto win, Lyle Overbay sees his teammates' expectations grow.
Alex Rios hit a two-run homer, Vernon Wells and Overbay also connected and the Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Thursday night.
"You can tell around the clubhouse, everybody is real confident," Overbay said. "It's fun, it's a different atmosphere. Hopefully we can enjoy this for a while."
Toronto won its AL-high 12th game and has won all five series so far. The Blue Jays have not lost consecutive games this season.
"They're really swinging the bats well," Texas infielder Michael Young said. "They've got the best starting pitcher in the league (in Roy Halladay). They're a good club."
The last two teams to open the season with five straight series victories were the 2003 San Francisco Giants and the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Both went on to win their division.
"It's nice to be in good company," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Josh Hamilton and Chris Davis hit solo shots for Texas, with six of the game's seven runs coming on homers.
Texas has hit a major league-leading 29 home runs this season. Toronto is second with 28.
The Rangers lost for the ninth time in 12 games following a 3-0 start to the season.
Blue Jays right-hander Scott Richmond (2-0) won back-to-back starts for the first time, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out a career-high eight.
"He got us off balance," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't figure him out."
Richmond used a tight slider to hold down right-handed batters and stymied lefties with a sharp curveball.
"You can't put it to words what he's doing," Overbay said. "He's spotting his pitches, he knows what he's got to do. He's got the stuff to get guys out, it's just a matter of location. He was putting that curveball on those lefties in a perfect spot where they're not going to hit it and if they do hit it, they're going to ground out. It was fun to see. he can do that all year."
Brandon League worked the seventh, Jesse Carlson got two outs in the eighth and Shawn Camp got the third before Scott Downs wrapped it up in the ninth for his first save.
Downs took over as Toronto's closer when left-hander B.J. Ryan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with muscle tightness in his back and shoulder. Ryan is 1-0 with an 11.12 ERA and two saves in six games. He blew his second save of the season against Texas on Wednesday, allowing three runs in the ninth.
Wells and Overbay hit solo shots in the second but Hamilton answered with a leadoff homer in the fourth.
Rios hit his first homer of the year, a two-run drive to left in the fifth before Davis hit a solo shot to right in the sixth.
Overbay was glad to see Rios end a homer drought that dated to Sept. 17, 2008.
"It was just a matter of time," Overbay said. "He's got so much pop, it's scary. If he ever figures out that he's that good, the sky is the limit for him. It's fun to watch him on a daily basis."
Texas right-hander Kevin Millwood (1-2) had allowed just three earned runs and one home run in his first three starts but gave up four runs and five hits in this one, including three homers. He walked two and struck out three.
"Tonight was probably the worst I've pitched out of the four (starts) but I still felt like I gave us a chance," Millwood said. "It's just not working out when I pitch right now."
Scott Rolen's RBI single off righty Jason Jennings gave Toronto an insurance run in the eighth.
Andruw Jones pinch hit for Davis in the eighth and struck out. He stayed in the game at first base, his first career appearance there.
Rangers rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus made two throwing errors, giving him a team-high five.
Notes: Overbay has hit in six straight games and is 10-for-20 with three homers and eight RBIs in that span. ... Toronto placed LHP Ricky Romero (strained right oblique) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Brian Bullington from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Ryan's spot. The Blue Jays will make another roster move before Friday's game in Chicago against the White Sox. ... Texas placed RHP Willie Eyre (right groin) on the 15-day DL, recalled Luis Mendoza from Triple-A and traded Triple-A LHP Kason Gabbard to Boston for cash. ... San Francisco opened the 2003 season with seven straight series wins, while Seattle won nine straight in 2001. ... Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph attended the game.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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