Toronto at Tampa Bay

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Toronto (80-79)010010000230
Tampa Bay (88-71) «20200100x580

Rays within one game of Boston after downing Jays

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are focusing on their playoff push rather than the shocking slide of the Boston Red Sox.

B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist homered in the first inning to back Wade Davis, and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Sunday to pull within one game of the Red Sox for the AL wild-card lead.

"It's more about the ascension of the Rays right now," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Obviously, they're struggling a bit, and that happens. But from our perspective, it's more important what we do. It's fortuitous that they've had a hard time, but I love the fact that we're taking care of business."

Evan Longoria and Kelly Shoppach also homered for the Rays, who have closed despite going just 14-10 in September.

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Nine games back of the Red Sox heading into play on Sept. 4, Tampa Bay would have moved into a tie for the wild-card lead if the Yankees completed a sweep of Boston in their day-night doubleheader. The Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the nightcap for a 7-4 victory in 14 innings.

"The more pressure you put on yourself, the tougher it is to play baseball, which is probably what the Red Sox are doing right now," Davis said. "There's probably a lot of pressure on them. They're playing tense and they're not playing their game. As long as we can stay relaxed and understand our position, we can just keep it going."

No major league team has overcome a nine-game deficit in September to claim a postseason berth. The closest was the 1964 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, who trailed the Philadelphia Phillies by 8½ games on Sept. 3.

Tampa Bay closes at home against the Yankees, while the Red Sox play at Baltimore.

"I know we have a tough team coming in, and we really have to play well," Tampa Bay's Johnny Damon said. "It'll be a tough go, but I think we're feeling good about ourselves and fortunately for us, there's no off-day.

Davis (11-10) allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings, and Joel Peralta finished for his sixth save in eight chances. The Rays have won 27 games in a row when scoring five runs or more.

Toronto's Jose Bautista, the major league leader with 43 homers, bruised a spot just below his left knee on Zobrist's first-inning homer, hitting the right-field fence hard while attempting to make a catch. Mark Teahen hit for Bautista in the sixth inning.

"It's sore right now," Bautista said. "It started getting more sore and stiff to run. It was hurting when I was running."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell doesn't expect Bautista to play in Monday night's game at the Chicago White Sox. The slugger hasn't ruled himself out from playing again before the regular season ends Wednesday.

"We feel like we dodged a bullet," Farrell said. "It could have been something much more severe. There's a little bit of a gap in that padding out there, and there's a little bit of exposed metal and that was the impact."

Upton homered with one out, and Zobrist hit an inside-the-park homer to right with two outs, also off Brett Cecil (4-11).

David Cooper had an RBI double in the second, but Longoria's two-run homer made it 4-1 in the third. He has driven in 82 runs over his last 95 games.

After Toronto's Dewayne Wise had a solo homer in the fifth, Shoppach hit a sixth-inning shot.

Cecil gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings. He is 0-7 with a 5.16 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Notes

  • RHP James Shields (15-12), who leads the majors with 11 complete games this season, will start Monday night's game against the Yankees. He will be followed in the series by Jeremy Hellickson (13-10) and David Price (12-13).
  • Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus was late scratch due to flu-like symptoms. 1B Adam Lind, who left the team Friday for the birth of his child, missed his third straight game.
  • Toronto manager John Farrell will miss Monday night's game with the White Sox to be with his 20-year old son Luke, who is having scheduled surgery.
  • obrist has four homers in his last eight games after going 39 games without one.
  • Farrell said it's becoming more unlikely that SS Yunel Escobar (left elbow) will play again this season.
  • Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (0-1) and White Sox RHP Dylan Axelrod (0-0) will pitch Monday's series opener.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Ben Zobrist is welcomed to the Rays dugout after hitting an inside-the-park home run off Toronto's Brett Cecil. (Getty Images)
Ben Zobrist is welcomed to the Rays dugout after hitting an inside-the-park home run off Toronto's Brett Cecil. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

K. Shoppach
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Tampa Bay

W. Davis
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 2
K 6
 

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Toronto Blue Jays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Mike McCoy, SS4000000 .203
Eric Thames, LF3010110 .269
Jose Bautista, RF2000011 .304
   a- Mark Teahen, PH-RF2000011 .184
Kelly Johnson, 2B3100101 .221
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000012 .272
David Cooper, 1B3011000 .197
J.P. Arencibia, C3000001 .221
Adam Loewen, DH3000021 .179
Dewayne Wise, CF3111000 .206
Totals3023226  
a-struck out for J. Bautista in the 6th
Batting
2B - David Cooper (6, Davis)
3B - Eric Thames (5, Davis)
HR - Dewayne Wise (2, Davis)
RBI - David Cooper (10), Dewayne Wise (7)
2-OUT RBI - Dewayne Wise (1)
Team LOB - 3
Toronto Blue Jays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brett Cecil (L,4-11) 3.1544213 4.73
Jesse Litsch 2.1211041 4.44
Shawn Camp 1100020 4.29
Luis Perez 1000010 5.12
Danny Farquhar 0.1000010 13.50
HBP - S. Rodriguez (by Brett Cecil), Kotchman (by Luis Perez)
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Cecil 73-42, Jesse Litsch 45-27, Shawn Camp 18-10, Luis Perez 15-9, Danny Farquhar 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Cecil 4-5, Jesse Litsch 1-2, Luis Perez 1-1
Batters Faced - Brett Cecil 18, Jesse Litsch 9, Shawn Camp 4, Luis Perez 4, Danny Farquhar 1
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, LF4000032 .275
B.J. Upton, CF4121011 .242
Evan Longoria, 3B4112002 .240
Ben Zobrist, 2B3121110 .269
Johnny Damon, DH3000111 .261
Sean Rodriguez, SS3000010 .221
Casey Kotchman, 1B3000003 .305
Brandon Guyer, RF2000000 .175
   a- Matt Joyce, PH-RF2000011 .277
Kelly Shoppach, C4231011 .180
Totals3258529  
a-flied out for Guyer in the 6th
Batting
HR - B.J. Upton (23, Cecil), Evan Longoria (29, Cecil), Ben Zobrist (19, Cecil), Kelly Shoppach (10, Litsch)
RBI - B.J. Upton (78), Evan Longoria 2 (95), Ben Zobrist (89), Kelly Shoppach (21)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria 2 (41), Ben Zobrist (33), Kelly Shoppach (13)
SB - Ben Zobrist (19, 2nd base off Cecil/Arencibia)
Team LOB - 7
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wade Davis (W,11-10) 8322261 4.45
Joel Peralta (S,6) 1000000 2.97
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 107-76, Joel Peralta 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 8-10, Joel Peralta 1-2
Batters Faced - Wade Davis 29, Joel Peralta 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21008
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Ed Rapuano