Steve Tolleson's two-run single in the ninth inning helped the
Blue Jays momentarily stop their freefall in the American League
East standings with an 8-5 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"Big win," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We had a lead
there. We coughed it up, but came through in the end. We needed
that, the way things have been going."
Tolleson, inserted at second base as a replacement for injured
starter Munenori Kawasaki, flicked a Grant Balfour pitch down the
right-field line, scoring designated hitter Dan Johnson, who had led
off with a walk, and shortstop Jose Reyes, who doubled him to third.
That gave the Blue Jays a 7-5 lead, and first baseman Jose Bautista
(2-for-4, two RBIs) added an RBI single after left fielder Melky
"It was embarrassing, really, for me to go out there and do that,"
Balfour said. "I know I'm better than that. I'll take full
responsibility for the loss on my shoulders and come back out here
Toronto (49-45) lost 15 of its last 22 games to squander a 4
1/2-game lead and drop 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles, who also won
Friday. Tampa Bay (42-53) had won nine of 12 to steady their
plummet, but fell 11 games back in the East with the loss.
Balfour (0-3) took the loss after allowing three runs on two hits
and two walks in a third of an inning.
Right-hander Aaron Loup pitched earned the win after pitching a
spotless eighth. Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
The win at Tropicana Field was unusual for Toronto, as Tampa Bay
dominated the Blue Jays there, earning at least a split in 20
consecutive series. It's the longest such streak since the Rays went
25 straight at Fenway Park without a series win from 2002-08.
Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle was in position for his 11th win
this season after allowing two earned runs on nine hits and a walk
with three strikeouts.
"That's not acceptable," Buehrle said. "It's a little frustrating on
that part, but take the All-Star break, get a good break, try to
refresh yourself and come back."
However, Tampa Bay designated hitter Sean Rodriguez tied the game in
the seventh with a three-run homer off right-hander Dustin McGowan.
The reliever had walked third baseman Evan Longoria and first
baseman James Loney in succession with two out before Rodriguez
belted his ninth homer of the season, giving him 12 RBIs in his last
"I love the fact we fought back tonight, how we fought back," Rays
manager Joe Maddon said.
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McGowan didn't retire a batter, allowing three earned on a hit and
The Rays got just one run -- on a sacrifice fly by Longoria -- after
loading the bases with no outs to start the game against Buehrle.
The Rays failed to score after packing the bases again in the
second, albeit with two out.
Toronto was more efficient, scoring three against Rays starter Chris
Archer after loading the bases in the third. After center fielder
Colby Rasmus led off with a single and Johnson walked, Reyes
(3-for-5, two runs, two RBIs) singled off second baseman Logan
Forsythe's glove to load the bases. Kawasaki singled to tie the game
1-1, Cabrera did the same to give Toronto a 2-1 lead, and Bautista
upped it to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Reyes' two-run, two-out single in the fourth gave Toronto a 5-1
Tampa Bay bunched three consecutive singles to trim the deficit to
5-2 in the bottom of the inning, with right fielder Ben Zobrist's
line drive to left scoring Forsythe (2-for-4).
Archer allowed five earned runs on six hits and three walks with
seven strikeouts in five innings.
NOTES: Blue Jays DH Adam Lind will likely return from the 15-day
disabled list in two to three weeks, according to the Toronto Star.
He has a non-displaced fracture near his right big toe after hitting
a foul ball of it in Baltimore on June 14. The injury was expected
to require six to eight weeks to heal, but a recent examination
revealed unexpected progress. ... Rays LHP Jake McGee was placed on
the paternity list after the birth of his first child. ... Rays SS
Yunel Escobar was activated from the 15-day disabled list after
rehabbing a sore right throwing shoulder. ... Rays C Ryan Hanigan
was scratched from the lineup with back soreness and replaced by
Jose Molina. ... Toronto had not won at least 49 games before the
All-Star break since 2006 (49-36).
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