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Rays hold off Toronto charge to stay alive
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays are assured of playing at least one more day in 2013.
Matt Moore pitched into the sixth inning and the Rays scored six times in the opening frame before holding on for a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the regular season finale.
The Rays (91-71) finished the season in a deadlock with Texas for the second wild card spot, one game behind the Indians. The Rays will play the Rangers in Arlington for a tiebreaker contest Monday with the winner to play in Cleveland Wednesday night for another one-game playoff. The victor of that contest will draw the AL East champion Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series.
The Rangers forced the tiebreaker later Sunday afternoon after they beat the Angels, while Cleveland locked up a home game for the wild card round after a victory at Minnesota.
"We're not in the playoffs yet, but we've gotten to this point," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Let's just let the air out and go play."
The Rays won eight of their final 10 contests.
The Blue Jays (74-88), who couldn't finish off the three-game sweep, wasted a pair of golden opportunities with the bases full in the late innings. Pinch-hitter Adam Lind grounded into a double play to end the seventh. Fernando Rodney fanned Moises Sierra to cap the eighth, after the Blue Jays scored twice in the inning to trim the margin to a run.
Rodney gave up a single to Lind to start the bottom of the ninth, but retired the next three batters to earn his 37th save.
Moore (17-4) allowed six hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings.
The Rays sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and they knocked Todd Redmond (4-3) out of the game after he recorded just two outs. Jose Lobaton had a two-run double in the uprising in the first. Evan Longoria added an RBI double, while James Loney, Delmon Young and Yunel Escobar had RBI base hits.
Myers doubled in Escobar in the fourth for a 7-0 lead, but the Blue Jays used eight pitchers and were able to get back in the game by scoring three times in the sixth, once in the seventh and two more in the eighth.
Mark DeRosa doubled in a run in the sixth and he scored on J.P. Arencibia's sacrifice fly.
Brett Lawrie doubled in a run in the seventh when Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected after arguing with home plate umpire Paul Schreiber. Lind, though, capped the inning when his grounder up the middle was gobbled up by Escobar, who raced to second before firing to first where Loney made a spectacular stretch to cap the frame.
Jose Reyes singled in a run in the bottom of the eighth, and Anthony Gose added an RBI single to right, but after Lawrie walked, Rodney put out the fire.
"I really enjoyed the way we finished up these last three days," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We played some really good baseball."
The Blue Jays ended 40-41 at home. It's the first time since 2004 they have not finished with a winning record at Rogers Centre ... Moore finished 10-1 on the road in 16 starts.
09/29 21:07:05 ET