Rays, Blue Jays battle in rubber match
(SportsNetwork.com) - After dropping the series opener against Tampa Bay by a score of 8-0 the night before, the Toronto Blue Jays displayed some fight on Saturday in order to tie the series at one game apiece at Rogers Centre. Sunday afternoon the Rays get a shot at redemption.
The Blue Jays were embarrassed on Friday when they failed to push a single runner across the plate, but yesterday the team made up for that ineptitude when they fought back time and time again before Jose Reyes singled to left to plate Colby Rasmus with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 5-4 thriller.
Reyes finished with two hits and two RBI, while Dioner Navarro also plated a pair thanks to his 10th home run of the campaign in the bottom of the seventh.
Toronto starter Mark Buehrle wasn't around to claim the win, but he did make it through 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Buehrle struck out just two. Dustin McGowan was awarded the win, his fifth of the season, after giving up a hit and a walk in his one inning of action.
"I felt great. It was probably the best I've felt in a couple years," Buehrle said. "I think I got worn out there towards the end. It's been a while since I got up to the 90-pitch count, between going three and four innings, getting taken out in Chicago around 70 pitches."
As for the Rays, who had a two-game win streak snapped and fell three games under .500, Wil Myers scored twice and Sean Rodriguez also scored as he accounted for a pair of hits.
Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson lasted 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on just three hits and a walk, striking out eight. Joel Peralta was charged with the loss, even though he struck out three in 1 2/3 innings.
But even before Rasmus gave the hosts the victory, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon declared his team was playing the game under protest after he felt the Blue Jays violated rule II.D of Major League Baseball's replay review regulations.
Back in the fourth inning when Toronto manager John Gibbons challenged a safe call on a pickoff attempt at first base, which was subsequently overturned, he did so only after Buehrle was already on the rubber and Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar was in the batter's box. Because the next play had officially started, the challenge should have never been allowed according to the rules.
"I think it's a legitimate protest," Maddon said. "Hitter in the box, pitcher on the mound, on the rubber, that locks the mechanism. It was inappropriate for (umpire) Bob (Davidson) to do what he did, permit that to happen. I trust that they are going to interpret the rule properly and get us back to that point in the game."
Hoping to get Tampa Bay back into the win column, Chris Archer is set to take the mound for the Rays this afternoon, shooting for his ninth win of the season which would match his career high set last year in just his second major league campaign.
The right-hander has won two straight decisions and four of the last five, although his most recent outing was met with a no-decision on Tuesday versus Detroit. Against the Tigers hitters, Archer allowed four runs -- one earned -- on five hits and five walks through 5 2/3 innings. Archer also struck out six, giving him 33 Ks in his last four outings.
Although he is still in his major league infancy, Archer is already 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in six appearances against Toronto.
As for the Blue Jays, they are hoping Drew Hutchison can bounce back from a minor slump that has seen him give up 13 earned runs in his last 12 2/3 innings.
The right-hander was blitzed for seven runs on eight hits last weekend at the Chicago White Sox in seven innings. Hutchison surrendered two home runs and issued three walks, while striking out three.
Now in just his second year in the majors, Hutchison is 2-2 with a lofty 7.78 ERA in four games versus Tampa Bay.
08/24 08:57:47 ET