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(Tuesday, May 15th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 3
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays took advantage of two Toronto errors and a Henderson Alvarez wild pitch in their three-run seventh inning, as they pulled out a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays to take both meetings of their two-game series.
Sean Rodriguez began the pivotal seventh with a home run, and several miscues by the Jays allowed their AL East rivals to come away victorious.
David Price (6-2) was credited with the win after allowing three runs on six hits over seven frames, while Ben Zobrist sparked the offense with three of the club's 12 hits.
"I thought [Price] got better with the game in progress," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think if we needed him to he could have pitched the eighth inning."
Edwin Encarnacion belted a two-run homer in Toronto's third straight loss.
Alvarez (3-3), looking to win his fourth straight start, was cruising until Rodriguez's towering home run to right-center cut the Rays' deficit to 3-2.
Will Rhymes followed with a base hit, and Yunel Escobar bobbled a routine double-play ball off the bat of Jose Molina to put the go-ahead run on base.
Elliot Johnson then hit a sharp line drive to left field, and Rajai Davis dropped the ball on a bounce, allowing Rhymes to score without a throw. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Zobrist lined one off of Kelly Johnson's glove at second base to load the bases.
B.J. Upton's double-play grounder scored the eventual-game winner, as Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney each hurled a perfect inning of relief behind Price to seal Tampa Bay's third straight win.
Rodney notched his 11th save in as many chances, though he appeared to get some help from home plate umpire Bill Miller, who rung-up Brett Lawrie on a borderline third strike for the second out.
Lawrie showed his displeasure by slamming his helmet into the ground and was promptly ejected. John Farrell came to the rescue of his third baseman and was quickly tossed as well.
"In a one-run game...I felt like the bat was taken completely out of Brett's hands," Farrell said. "Those are not strikes, evident by the reactions of Brett and myself."
The Jays put up three runs in the third, which began with Johnson backhanding Davis' ground ball in the hole between short and third and rushing his throw to first.
The errant toss allowed Davis to advance to second, and he eventually scored on Jose Bautista's two-out base hit up the middle. Price's next pitch was crushed deep into the first row of seats in center field by Encarnacion.
Zobrist had been thrown out at home by Davis in the away half of the third, but his two-out double in the fifth plated Rhymes.
Alvarez was charged with four runs -- two earned -- on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings...Alvarez and Lawrie also committed errors...Encarnacion leads the Jays with 12 home runs and 31 RBI...Price improved to 11-2 in 14 appearances against Toronto...Before the game, the Rays placed pitcher Jeff Niemann on the 15-day disabled list due to a fracture in his right fibula suffered on Monday. The team recalled pitcher Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham to fill the roster spot...Both teams play their next two games against division opponents, as the Rays host the Red Sox and the Jays welcome the Yankees.
05/16 01:42:30 ET
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