|Tampa Bay (72-61) «||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||5||8||0|
TORONTO -- This time it was Tampa Bay's turn to end the game with a defensive flourish.
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For the second straight day, the game ended with the potential tying run thrown out at home plate. With two outs in the ninth inning, Colby Rasmus singled to center off Fernando Rodney. Catcher Jose Molinahauled in a high throw from B.J. Upton and blocked Omar Vizquel's path to the plate, tagging him out to end it.
"We paid them back today," Rodney said.
When he released the ball, Upton wasn't sure whether Molina would be able to handle his high throw.
"I knew I had a pretty good line, I was hoping it wasn't too high for him," Upton said. "Luckily it wasn't. He got up a little bit. The biggest thing is he was able to block the plate."
Vizquel agreed that Molina's block was pivotal.
"I wanted to go around him," he said. "When he fell down he fell on me and I couldn't really do anything else after that."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell gave the credit to Upton.
"B.J. Upton has probably got one of the strongest throwing arms in this league," Farrell said. "It can be a little erratic at times. We forced him to throw a strike and he did."
"They did it to us last night, we did it to them today," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It feels much better when you're on this side of things."
Tampa Bay starter Jeff Niemann left in the fourth inning with tightness in his right arm, bringing an early end to his comeback from a broken right leg. Niemann said his arm stiffened up between the third and fourth.
"I just wasn't able to comfortably throw like I was in the first few innings," he said. "It's the first start back, I'm being precautionary right now. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Niemann had not pitched since May 14 when he left a start at Toronto after being struck by Adam Lind's line drive.
Joyce drove in the deciding run by hitting his 15th homer, a second deck shot to right in the eighth off Brad Lincoln.
For Joyce, it was his first multihit game since Aug. 10 at Minnesota.
"It was good to see him come back in the dugout smiling," Maddon said.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer for Toronto, his 36th, but the Blue Jays failed to extend their modest three-game winning streak.
Beaten 2-0 in Thursday's series opener, Tampa Bay lost 2-1 Friday, a game that saw two Rays runners thrown out at home plate.
This time, Tampa Bay used a four-run, bat-around third to win for just the second time in eight games. The Rays also improved to 2-11 in their past 13 one-run games.
"To come back and win today like we did is a big win for us," Upton said.
Roberts got the Rays on the board with a one-out drive to left-center, his third, off Henderson Alvarez.
Alvarez (7-12) lost for the fifth time in six starts, allowing four runs and five hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out two.
Niemann appeared to be walking around the mound in discomfort after Rajai Davis flied out to begin the fourth. Manager Joe Maddon and trainer Ron Porterfield came to the mound for a brief chat, and Niemann walked back to the dugout accompanied by Porterfield.
Maddon didn't seem especially concerned about the severity of Niemann's injury.
"It's nothing awful," Maddon said. "We'll just wait and see what happens."
Niemann allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He walked none and struck out four.
Howell came on and walked Rasmus, then gave up a towering homer to Encarnacion that hit off the facing of the fourth deck. Measured at 488 feet, it was the second longest home run in the majors this season. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit a 494 foot shot at Colorado on Aug. 17.
Encarnacion's blast snapped Howell's club record scoreless innings streak at 27 1/3.
Toronto cut it to 5-4 in the eighth when Lind drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single off Peralta. Rodney came on and walked Yorvit Torrealba to load the bases again, then struck out Kelly Johnson and Sierra.
|Jose Molina tags out Omar Vizquel for the final out in the Rays' one-run victory over the Blue Jays. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||5||0||1||0||0||1||0||.249|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.249|
|Ben Zobrist, SS||3||1||1||1||1||1||1||.266|
|Evan Longoria, DH||2||0||0||0||2||0||1||.281|
|Matt Joyce, RF||4||1||2||3||0||1||1||.256|
|Jeff Keppinger, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.331|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.188|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.241|
|Jose Lobaton, C||2||1||0||0||1||2||0||.227|
|a- Ben Francisco, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|Jose Molina, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.204|
|a-fouled out for Lobaton in the 9th|
|2B - B.J. Upton (23, Alvarez), Ben Zobrist (34, Alvarez), Matt Joyce (15, Alvarez)|
|HR - Matt Joyce (15, Lincoln), Ryan Roberts (9, Alvarez)|
|RBI - Ben Zobrist (54), Matt Joyce 3 (51), Ryan Roberts (47)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (10), Matt Joyce 2 (23)|
|SB - B.J. Upton (26, 2nd base off Lincoln/Torrealba)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Outfield Assists - B.J. Upton 1|
|DP - Niemann-Zobrist-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Wade Davis (W,2-0)||2.1||0||0||0||2||0||0||2.33|
|Jake McGee (H,14)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.06|
|Joel Peralta (H,32)||0.1||3||2||2||1||1||0||3.76|
|Fernando Rodney (S,40)||1.2||1||0||0||2||2||0||0.73|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 45-29, J.P. Howell 22-8, Wade Davis 32-19, Jake McGee 12-10, Joel Peralta 23-17, Fernando Rodney 28-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 3-2, J.P. Howell 1-0, Wade Davis 3-3, Jake McGee 1-0, Fernando Rodney 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 10, J.P. Howell 5, Wade Davis 8, Jake McGee 3, Joel Peralta 5, Fernando Rodney 7|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Rajai Davis, LF||4||1||1||0||1||1||1||.246|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||3||1||1||0||2||1||3||.228|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B||3||1||1||2||1||0||0||.288|
|Adam Lind, DH||4||0||1||2||0||0||0||.234|
|Mike McCoy, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.174|
|Yorvit Torrealba, C||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.244|
|Kelly Johnson, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||3||3||.225|
|Moises Sierra, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||5||.272|
|Omar Vizquel, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.223|
|Adeiny Hechavarria, SS||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.211|
|2B - Adeiny Hechavarria (3, Peralta)|
|HR - Edwin Encarnacion (36, Howell)|
|SH - Adeiny Hechavarria (4)|
|RBI - Edwin Encarnacion 2 (92), Adam Lind 2 (31)|
|SB - Rajai Davis (40, 2nd base off Davis/Lobaton)|
|CS - Colby Rasmus (3, 2nd base by Davis/Lobaton)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Hechavarria-Johnson-Encarnacion, Vizquel-Johnson-Encarnacion|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Henderson Alvarez (L,7-12)||5||5||4||4||4||2||1||5.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - Henderson Alvarez 86-48, Aaron Loup 25-16, Brad Lincoln 19-13, Brandon Lyon 9-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Henderson Alvarez 10-1, Aaron Loup 1-1, Brad Lincoln 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Henderson Alvarez 22, Aaron Loup 6, Brad Lincoln 6, Brandon Lyon 3|
|Attendance - 20478|
|Game Time - 3:14|
|Temperature - 73|
|Umpires - Home - Jordan Baker, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Lance Barrett|