|Tampa Bay (34-18) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||4||7||10||1|
TORONTO -- After a ninth inning call that went against them led to manager Joe Maddon getting tossed, things started going right for the Tampa Bay Rays.
"It was a big win," Maddon said. "I normally don't speak of big wins but that one is."
The Blue Jays led 5-3 to begin the inning, but Carl Crawford drew a one-out walk and stole second. He was nearly picked off, but ended up at third after Gregg's throwing error sent the ball into center field.
"He's a good umpire," Pena said. "I jut thought he made a bad decision there."
Pena said he sensed Gregg speeding up his delivery when he realized what was happening.
"I was just hoping he was going to throw a ball," said Pena, who threw his bat at the pitch but failed to make contact.
Maddon came out to argue and was ejected by Hernandez, his second ejection of the season. Maddon, who said he wanted to "make a stand," also argued with crew chief Joe West at third base, then jawed with Hernandez again before leaving the field.
"I'm all for supporting league policy but when it comes to speed-up rules in those situations I think they can basically be thrown in the trash can," Maddon said. "It's inappropriate. There's no such thing as a speed-up rule at that moment in the game, and that was my argument."
Inappropriate was the same sentiment expressed by Gregg to describe his career high five-walk, 40-pitch, 26-ball performance.
"Walking that many guys in an inning is not going to work," a frustrated Gregg said. "It's not appropriate."
With Maddon gone and the Rays down to their final out, their luck changed. Gregg (0-2) loaded the bases by walking pinch-hitter John Jaso, then made it 5-4 by walking Ben Zobrist. Rodriguez followed with a double to center that Vernon Wells bobbled, allowing all three runners to score.
"The opportune moment can be disguised, or be wearing different clothing," Maddon said of the sudden turnaround. "Right there it was wearing the clothing of not permitting a timeout."
It's the second time this season the Rays have won when trailing after eight; they also did it in a 4-3 win over Baltimore on Opening Day.
"Sometimes weird stuff does spark the good," Pena said.
Rodriguez, who came in batting .224, said his lightweight average may have caused Gregg to underestimate him.
"He had been all over the place a little bit but he hadn't been missing much," Rodriguez said. "I figured with me coming up there he was going to be a little bit more relaxed, you know, thinking 'This guy's not hitting very well,' so I figured I'd probably get more pitches to hit."
On a 1-1 cutter, Rodriguez lined the ball over the head of second baseman Aaron Hill.
"What a great at-bat and what a clutch hit in that situation," Pena said.
The blown save was Gregg's third.
"When you have a lead that late in the ball game, you've got to shut it down, you've got to beat them," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Gaston replaced Gregg with left-hander Rommie Lewis after Dioner Navarro walked. Gregg was ejected by Hernandez for arguing as he walked off the mound and had to be restrained by bench coach Nick Leyva.
"Technically, I'm probably not supposed to comment on the strike zone," Gregg said. "Obviously, you can watch the game and see how things dictate it. All we ask is that it's consistent throughout the game and consistent in the ninth inning."
Grant Balfour (1-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win. Rays closer Rafael Soriano gave up Wells' RBI double in the ninth but got Jose Bautista to end it with a fly to left, giving him his 15th save in as many chances.
Fred Lewis gave the Blue Jays an early lead when he led off the bottom of the first with a homer to right, his fourth.
Buck's sacrifice fly made it 5-0 in the sixth, but the Rays closed the gap with a three-run seventh.
Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann allowed a season-high five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
After being out since April 17 with a strained left forearm, Toronto's Brian Tallet came off the disabled list to pitch 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits. He walked three and struck out four.
|Kevin Gregg (five walks) yields four runs in the 9th before being tossed for arguing with the home plate umpire. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Tampa Bay Rays|
|B.J. Upton , CF||5||0||1||0||0||3||1||.219|
|Carl Crawford , LF||4||2||1||1||1||0||1||.314|
|Evan Longoria , 3B||3||1||0||0||2||0||2||.318|
|Carlos Pena , 1B||5||0||1||1||0||2||4||.176|
|Willy Aybar , 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Ben Zobrist , RF||3||1||1||1||2||1||3||.303|
|Gabe Kapler , RF||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.236|
|a-Hank Blalock , PH-3B||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.235|
|Dioner Navarro , C||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.200|
|Reid Brignac , SS||5||1||1||1||0||3||6||.301|
|Sean Rodriguez , 2B||2||0||1||3||0||0||0||.230|
|Grant Balfour , RP||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b-John Jaso , PH-C||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||.308|
|a-Struck out looking for G Kapler in the 6th.|
|b-Walked for G Balfour in the 9th.|
|2B - B Upton (12); W Aybar (4); R Brignac (9); S Rodriguez (7)|
|RBI - C Crawford (25); C Pena (32); B Zobrist (27); R Brignac (21); S Rodriguez 3 (14)|
|S - D Navarro (3)|
|SB - C Crawford (17)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Grant Balfour (W,1-1)||1.1||2||0||0||1||0||0||1.93|
|Rafael Soriano (S,15)||1.0||1||1||0||0||1||0||1.27|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Fred Lewis , LF||5||3||3||1||0||0||0||.305|
|Aaron Hill , 2B||5||1||2||0||0||0||2||.186|
|Adam Lind , DH||5||0||1||2||0||3||3||.224|
|Vernon Wells , CF||5||0||2||1||0||0||1||.307|
|Jose A. Bautista , RF||3||0||0||0||2||1||1||.247|
|Alex Gonzalez , SS||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.264|
|Lyle Overbay , 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.218|
|John Buck , C||3||1||1||2||0||0||3||.261|
|Edwin Encarnacion , 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.211|
|2B - F Lewis (19); V Wells 2 (20); L Overbay (11)|
|3B - A Lind (1)|
|HR - F Lewis (4); J Buck (9)|
|RBI - F Lewis (16); A Lind 2 (30); V Wells (37); J Buck 2 (28)|
|SF - J Buck (2)|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Kevin Gregg (L,0-2)||0.2||1||4||4||5||2||0||4.50|
|Attendance - 13439|
|Game Time - 3:22|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Dan Bellino, Third Base - Joe West|