Beltre and the Rangers will try to keep the top spot in the AL West on Friday night when they meet the Blue Jays for the first of seven matchups over the next 10 days.
Second on the team to Nelson Cruz with 13 homers and 36 RBIs, Beltre has batted .435 with four home runs and eight RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. He went 3 for 4 with a homer in a 6-3 loss at Boston on Thursday.
Manager Ron Washington is expected to keep the third baseman off Toronto's artificial surface and in the designated hitter spot for this series. Beltre hit .387 with a homer with five RBIs against Toronto last season, when Texas won six of nine matchups.
With their division lead over Oakland down to one-half game after the surging Athletics won again Thursday, the Rangers (36-23) could use a solid start from Nick Tepesch (3-4, 3.44 ERA) in the opener.
The rookie right-hander has posted a 2.12 ERA in his last three starts but has no wins to show for it, as Texas has totaled five runs in those games. In his last start, Tepesch gave up one unearned run in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Kansas City on Saturday.
He didn't issue a walk for the first time in six outings.
This will be the first time Tepesch faces the Blue Jays (25-34), who are back home for three games before beginning another seven-game trip that concludes at Texas.
They finished a 3-4 road stretch with a 4-0 victory over San Francisco on Wednesday.
"It seems like we've been gone a couple of weeks," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "With an off-day (Thursday), it'll be big."
Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.77) will make his second start as the Blue Jays continue to look for stopgaps for their injury-plagued rotation.
In the right-hander's last start - his first since 2011 with Colorado - he allowed three hits and two walks while striking out four over 3 1-3 innings of a 3-0 win at Atlanta on May 29.
Rogers, who tossed two scoreless innings in a 7-4, 11-inning victory at San Diego in his last appearance Sunday, has faced Texas four times - all relief appearances in 2012 while with Cleveland.
Edwin Encarnacion , the Blue Jays' leader with 17 homers and 48 RBIs, hit four home runs and drove in eight against the Rangers last season. He's expected to be back at first base after shifting to third for the final five games of the trip.
"He's a first baseman ... natural," Washington told the team's official website. "That's all that matters. It's not what he can do offensively. All that matters is he can move around that bag and do what needs to be done."
Texas won two of three in its last visit to Toronto from Aug. 17-19.
|June 06, 2013||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|June 05, 2013||Mitch Moreland||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|June 01, 2013||Adrian Beltre||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring tightness|
|May 18, 2013||Ian Kinsler||15-Day DL||Right intercostal strain|
|May 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|May 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Ankle sprain|
|May 19, 2013||Darren Oliver||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays are stuck in last place for numerous reasons. Their league-leading bullpen isn't one of them.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double, Neil Wagner earned his first major league win and four Toronto relievers combined for five shutout innings to lead the Blue Jays to a 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
Jeff Baker 's leadoff single in the seventh was the only hit allowed during the five innings, and he was erased on a double play.
Toronto's bullpen has pitched 17 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings since a 17-inning loss at San Diego on May 31.
"Everyone in the bullpen is throwing well," Wagner said. "It's good to know that if you come in and you struggle, you have three or four guys that might come in the game after you that are all just dominating. It's a fun group to be a part of."
Melky Cabrera homered, scored twice and drove in two runs to help the Blue Jays win for the ninth time in 13 home games, dating to May 5.
Texas batters struck out 13 times as the slumping Rangers lost for the seventh time in 11 games.
"It happens," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're in a little funk right now as far as putting runs on the board."
Texas struck out a season-high 15 times in a 5-3 loss at Arizona on May 27.
Making his second start of the season, Blue Jays right-hander Esmil Rogers allowed one run and three hits in four innings. He walked one and fanned a season-high six.
"He did a good job after the first inning, kind of quieted us down," Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Aaron Loup struck out four of the five batters he faced, Wagner (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 innings, Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Steve Delabar fanned two in the ninth.
"Once they got the lead, it was tough," Pierzynski said.
Toronto relievers allowed just one earned run in their past 29 1-3 innings, and one homer in the past 37 innings.
"We've got some weapons out there, some guys that can really pitch," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-5) lost for the fourth time in his past five decisions, allowing a career-high six runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out six.
Texas opened the scoring in the first when Jurickson Profar hit a one-out single, went to second on Rogers' balk and scored on Adrian Beltre 's single.
Tepesch retired the first nine batters in order, striking out the side in the second, before Cabrera tied it with a leadoff homer in the fourth. The second deck blast was his third homer of the season.
The Blue Jays took the lead with a four-run sixth. Toronto loaded the bases with a hit batter, a single and a walk before Encarnacion hit his two-run double. Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia both followed with sacrifice flies.
"For five innings there, he was moving his ball around and keeping it down, staying off the fat part of the zone," Washington said. "That one inning they just got him."
Toronto tacked on more in the seventh when Munenori Kawasaki hit a two-out single, snapping an 0-for-16 slump, and scored on Cabrera's base hit to right, charging home when the relay throw went to second base.
Rangers first baseman Chris McGuiness made his major league debut, going 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
NOTES: RHP Chien-Ming Wang opted out of his minor league contract with the New York Yankees and plans to sign with Toronto. The Blue Jays' 4.56 ERA is 28th in the major leagues. ... Toronto recalled C Josh Thole and selected INF Andy LaRoche from Triple-A Buffalo. C Henry Blanco was designated for assignment. ... Following the game, the Blue Jays activated RHP Dustin McGowan off the 60-day DL and optioned RHP Todd Redmond to Buffalo. ... Gibbons said 3B Brett Lawrie is wearing a walking boot on his injured left ankle. Lawrie went on the 15-day DL May 28. ... Washington said Beltre will not play defense in any of the three games on Toronto's turf, limiting him to DH duties. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz and 1B Lance Berkman got the day off. Washington said Cruz has been bothered by soreness in his hamstrings. ... Former Texas C Ivan Rodriguez was elected Friday as the 16th member of the Rangers' Hall of Fame.