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(Friday, July 19th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 8, Toronto 5
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Ryan Roberts' eighth-inning single brought in the go-ahead run as Tampa Bay rallied past Toronto for an 8-5 decision in the opener of a three-game series from Rogers Centre.
Wil Myers finished with three hits, including a solo home run, and scored twice for the Rays, who remained hot thanks to the 11th win in their last 12 games. Ben Zobrist, Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria also went deep in the victory.
"This was good to see. We put it down for a couple of days, and picked it right back up with no problems," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
David Price (4-5) worked seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Jose Bautista cranked a two-run homer, while Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia hit solo shots for the Blue Jays, who have dropped four of their last five.
Brett Cecil (3-1) was charged with the lead run while recording just one out. Blue Jays starter Esmil Rogers gave up seven hits and four runs while fanning four over his 5 2/3-inning outing.
Johnson started the deciding eighth frame with a base hit and Cecil was pulled for Steve Delabar. Pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez then sacrificed Johnson to second and after Jose Molina's fly out, Roberts -- recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game -- laced a hit to left for a 5-4 Rays' lead.
Roberts advanced on a wild pitch, then came in when Desmond Jennings followed with a double.
Toronto stranded two in the home half, then the Rays tacked on two more in the ninth. Luke Scott doubled with two down and scored when Jays shortstop Jose Reyes threw high to first on a Myers infield single. Rodriguez later plated Myers with a single for an 8-4 contest.
Lawrie's one-out liner cleared the left-field wall in the ninth to make it 8-5, but Jake McGee recovered to retire the next two batters and end the contest.
"You can't be perfect all year long," said Jays manager John Gibbons. "You don't see it too often, they get a leadoff hit and then a couple off Delabar."We have to put our foot on the gas, or else everyone is going to race past us."
Encarnacion reached the second deck in left field for a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the first to give the hosts an early edge.
Despite a double from Myers and Lawrie's bobble of a Johnson grounder, the Rays left runners on the corners in the second.
Zobrist evened the score on a shot to left center with one out in the third, but Arencibia's blast to dead center to begin the home half put the Jays back on top. Reyes later singled with one out, stole second and came home when Bautista launched a two-run homer to left for a 4-1 game.
Myers started off the fourth with his fourth homer of the season, then Longoria's long blast to kick off the sixth made it a one-run contest. Three batters later, Johnson's two-out homer to center evened the score.
"We were playing our best ball leading up to the All-Star break. This was a big win for us, after being down early in the game," Myers said. "It's the mark of a good team, to be able to come back after a rest and get the win."
Price upped his career mark to 7-0 in eight career starts in Toronto and improved to 13-2 all-time against the Blue Jays ... Tampa Bay assumed a 6-5 season-series edge with its second win in four tries in Toronto this year... Prior to the contest, the Rays placed first baseman James Loney on the paternity list.
07/20 00:43:29 ET