|Tampa Bay (72-59) «||0||0||0||2||0||1||3||0||0||6||12||1|
TORONTO -- Few people were certain whether B.J. Upton's sixth-inning drive landed fair or foul. Not even Upton himself knew for sure.
The next time up, he left little doubt.
|More on Rays at Blue Jays|
"He's got as much power as anybody, especially for being so skinny," Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach kidded. "When he gets into a ball, it can be very impressive."
Upton's 18th homer put the Rays ahead 6-2, and Tampa Bay held on despite a pair of late home runs by Toronto.
In Upton's previous at-bat, he led off with a long fly to left field that landed just a few feet foul. Upton and Rays manager Joe Maddon questioned the call with home plate umpire and crew chief Tim Tschida.
"[Tschida] said, 'I'll talk to the boys,' and I guess none of them were absolutely certain, so they did the right thing," Maddon said.
Upton wasn't positive where his drive ended up, either.
"It looked fair from where I was, although it hooked very hard late," he said. "I don't think it hurt to check it out."
After huddling near the mound, three umpires left the field to review the video. They returned two minutes later and confirmed the original call, leaving the score at 2-all.
But Camp (1-3) fielded the ball and threw to Brett Lawrie for a forceout, and the third baseman's throw across the diamond completed a double play. The Blue Jays almost turned a triple play, too, but Rodriguez slid into third just ahead of the return throw. Elliot Johnson followed with a go-ahead single.
"In that situation I'm not trying to do too much, just take what he gives me," Upton said. "He left something out over the plate for me and I got extended on it."
Maddon was pleased with Upton's powerful shot.
"I congratulated him on keeping that ball fair," he said.
The Rays are an AL-best 19-9 since July 28, and haven't given up hopes of winning the wild card. The Rays are seven games behind the second-place Yankees in the AL East.
"I keep saying that we're very much in this race right now," Upton said. "We've just got to continue to try and win series. That's all we can ask ourselves. Hopefully [New York and Boston] hit a little rut and we can gain some ground on them."
Litsch, a converted starter who was working for the third time in four days, denied feeling the effects of fatigue.
"I left the one ball up that Upton hit," Litsch said.
Rodriguez and Johnson each had three hits for the Rays.
Jeff Niemann (9-5) won for the fifth time in six starts. He came in 0-2 with an 8.36 ERA in his last three matchups with Toronto, failing to work more than five innings in any of them.
Niemann reversed that trend, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.
The right-hander improved to 8-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts since returning from the disabled list on June 20 after missing 39 games with a strained lower back.
"Not great but good," Maddon said of Niemann. "He got through it. He started out slowly but I thought he settled in pretty well. Then eventually, at the end there, you could see he got tired."
Rays left-hander Jake McGee gave up a leadoff homer to Eric Thames in the eighth, the ninth of the season for the rookie outfielder. McGee got two outs before Juan Cruz came on and surrendered a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion, his 14th. Kelly Johnson followed with a walk but Brett Lawrie fouled out.
Joel Peralta finished for his second save in four chances.
|B.J. Upton receives congratulations in the Rays dugout after his three-run homer in the seventh inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||0||1||0||1||0||1||.336|
|Sam Fuld, RF||3||1||0||0||1||1||2||.238|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||2||2||0||0||3||0||0||.235|
|Ben Zobrist, DH||5||1||2||0||0||2||5||.280|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||1||1||3||1||2||3||.224|
|Sean Rodriguez, 1B-2B||4||1||3||2||0||0||1||.219|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.174|
|Elliot Johnson, 2B-SS||4||0||3||1||0||0||0||.195|
|Reid Brignac, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.194|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.325|
|2B - Ben Zobrist (43, Perez), Sean Rodriguez (18, Perez)|
|HR - B.J. Upton (18, Litsch)|
|SH - Sam Fuld (4)|
|RBI - B.J. Upton 3 (61), Sean Rodriguez 2 (26), Elliot Johnson (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - B.J. Upton 3 (25), Elliot Johnson (3)|
|SB - Ben Zobrist (16, 2nd base off Francisco/Arencibia), Elliot Johnson (5, 2nd base off Camp/Arencibia)|
|CS - B.J. Upton (8, 2nd base by Perez/Arencibia), Sean Rodriguez (6, 3rd base by Perez/Arencibia), Elliot Johnson (7, 2nd base by Janssen/Arencibia)|
|PK - Sean Rodriguez (2, Janssen)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|E - Kelly Shoppach (3, Dropped fly)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jeff Niemann (W,9-5)||6.1||5||3||3||2||6||0||3.46|
|J.P. Howell (H,6)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||6.75|
|Jake McGee (H,3)||0.2||1||1||1||0||1||1||5.09|
|Juan Cruz (H,4)||0.1||1||1||1||1||0||1||4.10|
|Joel Peralta (S,2)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.28|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 111-68, J.P. Howell 6-4, Jake McGee 17-12, Juan Cruz 11-4, Joel Peralta 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 6-7, J.P. Howell 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 26, J.P. Howell 2, Jake McGee 3, Juan Cruz 3, Joel Peralta 3|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||5||0||0||0||0||1||0||.282|
|Eric Thames, LF||4||2||2||1||0||0||0||.270|
|Jose Bautista, RF||3||0||1||1||1||0||0||.315|
|Adam Lind, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.257|
|Edwin Encarnacion, DH||3||2||1||1||1||0||2||.275|
|Kelly Johnson, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.210|
|Brett Lawrie, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.329|
|J.P. Arencibia, C||4||0||1||2||0||1||0||.213|
|Dewayne Wise, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.225|
|2B - Jose Bautista (22, Niemann), J.P. Arencibia (15, Niemann)|
|3B - Brett Lawrie (4, Niemann)|
|HR - Eric Thames (9, McGee), Edwin Encarnacion (14, Cruz)|
|RBI - Eric Thames (28), Jose Bautista (83), Edwin Encarnacion (42), J.P. Arencibia 2 (62)|
|2-OUT RBI - Edwin Encarnacion (16), J.P. Arencibia (19)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Outfield Assists - Jose Bautista 1|
|DP - Camp-Lawrie-Johnson|
|E - Casey Janssen (2, Throwing)|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Shawn Camp (L,1-3)||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||4.85|
|IBB - Longoria by Luis Perez|
|HBP - Upton (by Shawn Camp)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Luis Perez 92-52, Shawn Camp 14-8, Jesse Litsch 23-10, Casey Janssen 20-12, Frank Francisco 16-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Perez 5-4, Shawn Camp 2-0, Jesse Litsch 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Luis Perez 22, Shawn Camp 5, Jesse Litsch 5, Casey Janssen 5, Frank Francisco 4|
|Attendance - 24052|
|Game Time - 3:24|
|Temperature - 68|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Bill Welke|