Tampa Bay at Toronto

Tampa Bay
W: J. Hellickson (5-2) L: J. Litsch (4-3)
S: K. Farnsworth (9)
HR: TB - M. Joyce (7)   TOR - None

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5

CBSSports.com wire reports

TORONTO -- After doing some damage with his bat, Matt Joyce used his glove to preserve a win for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Joyce homered, Elliot Johnson had three RBI and the Rays beat the Blue Jays 6-5 on Wednesday night, snapping Toronto's winning streak at six games.

In a game that saw six errors, Joyce turned in the defensive highlight, ending the seventh inning with a running catch on Aaron Hill's soft flare to strand runners at first and second and keep a two-run lead intact.

Rays bench coach Dave Martinez had just moved Joyce, the right fielder, closer to center, expecting Hill to hit the ball in that direction.

"The catch was huge," Joyce said. "I was actually shaded toward the gap and sure enough [Hill] hit it down the line. It was a long run. It saved a couple of runs, it stopped them from tying the game. It was a big play."

Manager Joe Maddon agreed.

More on Rays at Blue Jays
Related links
Fantasy videos

Updating MLB news | Follow on Twitter

"He's a good outfielder," Maddon said. "Matty has really come a long way defensively in the last couple of years. He made a great play."

The Blue Jays could have used some of Joyce's defensive ability. Toronto made five errors, one shy of the team record the Blue Jays committed on May 13, 1982, at Texas. Two were charged to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the AL with 10 errors.

"He had a rough night at first base tonight," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "That's a fact. We all saw that."

Rays rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) won his fourth straight start, allowing four runs, three earned, and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.

Kyle Farnsworth gave up a run in the ninth when Yunel Escobar's grounder drove in Rajai Davis, but he held on for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.

Johnson opened the scoring with a two-run single in the second, ending up at third base on the play after two Toronto errors. Jose Bautista's throw from right field bounced off the second base bag, allowing Johnson to advance to second. He went to third when starter Jesse Litsch's throw to second sailed into the outfield.

"It was an unusual play, no doubt," Johnson said. "It's a little bit different. You don't really expect that to happen, but things like that do happen, even in the big leagues."

Johnson scored two batters later on Sam Fuld's bunt, with Fuld reaching safely when Encarnacion's high flip pulled Hill off the bag.

After Litsch hit Evan Longoria to begin the third, Joyce drilled the next pitch over the wall in right for a two-run homer, his seventh.

"He just absolutely mangled that ball," Maddon said.

B.J. Upton followed with a single and went to third when Litsch's errant pick off throw went down the right field line. After an infield single by Casey Kotchman, Upton scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly.

Litsch (4-3), who had won his previous two starts, allowed six runs, five earned, and seven hits in five innings, matching his shortest start of the season. He walked three and struck out one.

Toronto got one back in the fourth when Corey Patterson led off with a triple and scored on Hill's grounder.

The Blue Jays took advantage of a Tampa Bay error to score in the fifth. Designated hitter Eric Thames drew a leadoff walk and went to third when Davis' grounder went off second baseman Ben Zobrist's glove. Thames scored when Jayson Nix grounded into a double play.

The Blue Jays chased Hellickson with a two-run sixth. Patterson led off with a double and scored one out later when Hill doubled off the wall in left. Encarnacion popped out but J.P. Arencibia walked and Thames followed with an RBI single to center, his first major league hit. Juan Cruz came on and ended the inning by getting Davis to ground out.

Hellickson threw a career-high 120 pitches in his last outing, a shutout win over Baltimore.

"It looked like he was actually a bit tired," Maddon said. "I don't know if the 120 bothered him from last time or not."


Maddon said LHP J.P. Howell (left shoulder) remains on track to come off the 15-day DL on Friday. ... The Blue Jays held a moment of silence before the game to mark the death of former pitching coach Mel Queen, who died last week. ... Thames was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday when Adam Lind (back) went on the 15-day DL.

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.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Johnson
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0

C. Patterson
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (2:33)
Tampa Bay Rays
Sam Fuld, LF4011012 .233
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000103 .282
Johnny Damon, DH4020112 .266
Evan Longoria, 3B4110013 .246
Matt Joyce, RF3212211 .365
B.J. Upton, CF4210023 .253
Casey Kotchman, 1B5010003 .330
Elliot Johnson, SS3123000 .283
John Jaso, C3000112 .217
2B - Evan Longoria (7, Frasor)
3B - Elliot Johnson (1, Litsch)
HR - Matt Joyce (7, Litsch)
SF - Elliot Johnson (1)
SH - Sam Fuld (1)
RBI - Sam Fuld (16), Matt Joyce 2 (21), Elliot Johnson 3 (7)
SB - Johnny Damon (6, 2nd base off Litsch/Arencibia)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Johnson-Kotchman
E - Ben Zobrist (2, Misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeremy Hellickson (W,5-2) 5.2543360 3.18
Juan Cruz (H,1) 0.2000100 2.70
Cesar Ramos (H,1) 0.1000110 4.05
Joel Peralta (H,7) 1.1000010 2.82
Kyle Farnsworth (S,9) 1111010 1.76
IBB - J. Bautista by Cesar Ramos
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 89-54, Juan Cruz 12-6, Cesar Ramos 11-4, Joel Peralta 13-7, Kyle Farnsworth 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 5-6, Juan Cruz 1-1, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 25, Juan Cruz 3, Cesar Ramos 2, Joel Peralta 4, Kyle Farnsworth 4
Toronto Blue Jays
Yunel Escobar, SS4001110 .287
Corey Patterson, LF5220021 .281
Jose Bautista, RF2010201 .372
Aaron Hill, 2B4112013 .238
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B4000012 .244
J.P. Arencibia, C3000111 .225
Eric Thames, DH3111120 .333
Rajai Davis, CF4110012 .245
Jayson Nix, 3B4000001 .224
2B - Corey Patterson (10, Hellickson), Aaron Hill (7, Hellickson), Rajai Davis (3, Farnsworth)
3B - Corey Patterson (3, Hellickson)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (13), Aaron Hill 2 (16), Eric Thames (1)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Thames (1)
SB - Aaron Hill (7, 2nd base off Hellickson/Jaso), Rajai Davis (12, 3rd base off Farnsworth/Jaso)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Nix-Hill, Hill-Escobar-Encarnacion
E - Jose Bautista (2, Throwing), Edwin Encarnacion 2 (10, Throwing), Jesse Litsch 2 (2, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Jesse Litsch (L,4-3) 5765311 4.66
Carlos Villanueva 2100040 1.48
Casey Janssen 1000010 1.53
Jason Frasor 1100210 1.53
IBB - Joyce by Jason Frasor
HBP - Upton (by Jesse Litsch), Longoria (by Jesse Litsch)
WP - Jesse Litsch (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jesse Litsch 111-68, Carlos Villanueva 25-17, Casey Janssen 13-10, Jason Frasor 30-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jesse Litsch 4-10, Carlos Villanueva 1-0, Casey Janssen 3-0, Jason Frasor 1-1
Batters Faced - Jesse Litsch 27, Carlos Villanueva 6, Casey Janssen 4, Jason Frasor 6
Game Information
Attendance - 14415
Game Time - 3:18
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Jim Reynolds