It was almost another late-inning disaster for the Rays Tuesday night in Toronto. The bullpen struggles continued as they nearly blew a three-run lead, but Tampa Bay would hold off the Blue Jays to pick up the ‘W’.
Alex Cobb was on his A-game. He didn’t get a lot of whiffs (only two strikeouts), but he allowed just one run and three hits over 6.1 innings pitched.
The Rays got the scoring started in the second against Blue Jays starter Ramon Ortiz. Evan Longoria’s leadoff double led to a Luke Scott RBI groundout, and then Kelly Johnson went deep against his former team to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Desmond Jennings extended the Rays’ lead to three with a solo shot in third. Later in the inning, the Rays put together a mini rally, knocking in another run via a RBI single by Scott.
The Jays would score their only run against Cobb in the fifth, when Colby Rasmus crushed a ball off the upper deck in right for a solo homer.
After scoreless sixth and seventh innings from Alex Cobb and Jake McGee (1.2 IP), Toronto began to cut into the Rays’ lead in the eighth. Joel Peralta started the inning with a single, a walk, and then an RBI single off the bat of Jose Bautista. After a strikeout, a Ryan Roberts error at second ruined what probably would have been an inning-ending double play.
Instead, Joe Maddon decided to go with Fernando Rodney for the five-out save with the bases loaded and the score 4-2. He got the first batter he faced to groundout into the key double play the Rays were looking for.
The threat wasn’t over, however, as the Blue Jays would knock Rodney around a bit. Colby Rasmus scored on a wild pitch after a double, and then a two out walk put the go-ahead run to the plate (Melky Cabrera) with two outs. Cabrera struck out on a controversial 0-2 called strike. The pitch was far out of the strike zone, but was apparently good enough for home plate umpire Dale Scott.
The Rays improve to 24-21, and will go for the series victory today at 4:37 ET before an offday Thursday. It’ll be a battle of two struggling starters, as Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 5.82 ERA) takes the hill against Mark Buehrle (1-3, 6.33 ERA).
News and Notes:
- Matt Joyce exited last night’s game with right hamstring tightness after going 2-3. It’s fortunately said to be just precautionary at the moment. He’s not scheduled to start against the left-handed Buehrle today anyways, so hopefully with that and the offday tomorrow he won’t be missing any time.
- Evan Longoria (2-4, 2 R) extended his hit streak to 15 games.
- Yunel Escobar’s home run celebration Monday stirred some controversy. After condemning Escobar’s actions after Monday’s game, Joe Maddon is now saying that he “did nothing wrong.” Here’s more on the issue at TampaBay.com.
- Power-hitting prospect outfielder Josh Sale is now eligible to play after coming off his drug-related 50-game suspension Tuesday.