Toronto at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay
W: J. Howell (5-2) L: J. Frasor (5-2)
HR: TOR - A. Lind (19), V. Wells (9)   TB - B. Zobrist (17)

Zobrist lifts Rays over Jays with single in bottom of ninth wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ben Zobrist keeps proving his worth to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The first-time All-Star, one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, drove in four runs with a home run and tiebreaking ninth-inning single that gave the AL champions a 10-9 victory against slumping Toronto on Wednesday.

The Rays dropped their division rival in dramatic fashion for the second straight night. Pat Burrell homered in the 11th inning in the series opener to beat the Blue Jays, who have lost nine of 11.

"The last two games have been great for us. They're big because they're games we're going to need to win the AL East," Zobrist said. "That's our goal, and we're going to keep pushing for that."

Zobrist, a utility player who started at six positions before settling in as the regular second baseman in place of the injured Akinori Iwamura, is batting .289 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI.

He homered off Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet in the fourth inning. His winning hit off Scott Downs with two outs drove in Carl Crawford, who singled off Jason Frasor (5-2) before stealing second and third.

"We scored some runs," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "We just didn't hold them."

B.J. Upton stole home in the first inning and had an RBI single in the second for the Rays, who built two three-run leads that Scott Kazmir and Tampa Bay's bullpen couldn't hold. Toronto wiped out deficits of 5-2 and 9-6 before wasting an opportunity to go ahead when it stranded two runners in the eighth.

J.P. Howell (5-2) pitched the ninth to get the victory.

Scott Rolen had three hits and drove in a run, extending his career-best hitting streak to 25 games for Toronto, which fell to .500 (43-43) for the first time this year.

Kazmir, still looking for his first win in two months, allowed seven runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays scored two runs charged to reliever Grant Balfour to make it 9-9 in the seventh.

"It felt like I pitched way better than that," said Kazmir, who hasn't won since beating Boston on May 9. "It seems like I haven't gotten one break the whole year. I'm due."

In his third start since ending a five-week stay on the disabled list with a right quad strain, Kazmir allowed solo home runs to Adam Lind and Vernon Wells before giving up three runs in the fourth to blow a 5-2 lead.

Rolen doubled, Wells reached on an infield single and Kevin Millar walked to load the bases with no outs in the Toronto fourth.

Alex Rios drove in a run on a forceout at second, and the Blue Jays made it 5-5 when Marco Scutaro singled off first baseman Carlos Pena's glove to drive in two more runs.

Toronto's momentum was short-lived. Three batters later, Tallet gave up Zobrist's 17th home run and departed after yielding eight runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings, his shortest start of the year.

"I don't know who was pitching worse. Him or the kid across the way," Gaston said of Tallet and Kazmir. "It was kind of a race, who's going to get run out of there first."

Trailing 9-6 entering the seventh, Aaron Hill doubled for the final hit off Kazmir, then scored on Rolen's single off Balfour. After Millar doubled to drive in the second run of the inning, Rios singled to make it 9-9.


  • Upton stole home when Tallet tried to pick off Carl Crawford, the major league steals leader, at first base. It was his third career steal of home.
  • Wells' homer moved him ahead of George Bell into sole possession of fourth place on Toronto's career hit list with 1,295.
  • Rays LHP Brian Shouse (elbow strain) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday at Tropicana Field and could be ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment some time after the All-Star break.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Carl Crawford (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning run on Ben Zobrist's single. (AP)
Carl Crawford (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning run on Ben Zobrist's single. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 1

V. Wells
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 1

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Toronto Blue Jays
Marco Scutaro, SS5022000 .283
Aaron Hill, 2B5120002 .298
Adam Lind, DH5111013 .307
Scott Rolen, 3B5131012 .330
Vernon Wells, CF5321012 .264
Kevin Millar, 1B4121121 .240
Alex Rios, RF5112011 .259
Jose Bautista, LF3110122 .263
Raul Chavez, C4001004 .262
2B - Aaron Hill (14, Kazmir), Scott Rolen (26, Kazmir), Kevin Millar (8, Balfour), Jose Bautista (7, Kazmir)
HR - Adam Lind (19, Kazmir), Vernon Wells (9, Kazmir)
RBI - Marco Scutaro 2 (37), Adam Lind (58), Scott Rolen (34), Vernon Wells (38), Kevin Millar (22), Alex Rios 2 (46), Raul Chavez (9)
2-OUT RBI - Marco Scutaro 2 (14), Adam Lind (22), Kevin Millar (9), Alex Rios (20)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Scutaro-Hill-Millar, Scutaro-Hill
Toronto Blue Jays
Brian Tallet 31188241 4.95
Dirk Hayhurst 3311210 1.84
Jesse Carlson 1100110 4.76
Jason Frasor (L,5-2) 1.2111230 2.56
Scott Downs0100100 1.98
IBB - Longoria by Jesse Carlson
HBP - Pena (by Brian Tallet)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Tallet 84-55, Dirk Hayhurst 44-24, Jesse Carlson 28-14, Jason Frasor 43-22, Scott Downs 10-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Tallet 1-4, Dirk Hayhurst 2-4, Jesse Carlson 1-1, Jason Frasor 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Tallet 23, Dirk Hayhurst 12, Jesse Carlson 5, Jason Frasor 8, Scott Downs 2
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF4111224 .240
Carl Crawford, LF6120027 .314
Evan Longoria, 3B5110116 .284
Carlos Pena, 1B4110113 .228
Ben Zobrist, 2B5334111 .289
Pat Burrell, DH5220010 .227
Jason Bartlett, SS4021101 .356
Gabe Kapler, RF3122101 .257
   a- Gabe Gross, PH-RF0000100 .278
Dioner Navarro, C4031011 .223
   b- Willy Aybar, PH1000002 .279
    Michel Hernandez, C0000000 .265
a-walked for Kapler in the 8th
b-flied out for Navarro in the 8th
2B - Evan Longoria (26, Tallet), Carlos Pena (18, Hayhurst), Pat Burrell (6, Tallet), Jason Bartlett (17, Hayhurst), Dioner Navarro (12, Carlson)
HR - Ben Zobrist (17, Tallet)
RBI - B.J. Upton (33), Ben Zobrist 4 (50), Jason Bartlett (38), Gabe Kapler 2 (22), Dioner Navarro (25)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (21), Jason Bartlett (20)
SB - B.J. Upton (31, off Tallet/Chavez), Carl Crawford 2 (43, 2nd base off Frasor/Chavez, 3rd base off Downs/Chavez), Jason Bartlett (18, 2nd base off Frasor/Chavez)
Team LOB - 14
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir 6.1977242 7.11
Grant Balfour (BS,1) 0.2322010 4.58
Chad Bradford 0.1200000 3.38
Randy Choate 0.1000000 1.23
Joe Nelson 0.1000010 4.36
J.P. Howell (W,5-2) 1000020 1.52
WP - Scott Kazmir 2 (9)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 107-66, Grant Balfour 18-8, Chad Bradford 8-8, Randy Choate 9-6, Joe Nelson 5-3, J.P. Howell 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 5-10, Grant Balfour 1-0, Chad Bradford 1-0, J.P. Howell 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 30, Grant Balfour 5, Chad Bradford 3, Randy Choate 1, Joe Nelson 1, J.P. Howell 3
Game Information
Attendance - 15252
Game Time - 4:05
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - James Hoye