|Toronto (12-21) «||0||0||0||3||0||2||0||1||2||8||12||0|
|Tampa Bay (14-17)||0||0||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||11||2|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Down seven runs, Toronto easily could have conceded another disappointing loss. Instead, the struggling Blue Jays chipped away until they found a way to pull off their biggest comeback in nearly six years.
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"I think this game kind of evens itself out and if guys keep coming with positive attitudes and keep coming ready to work, it's going to turn. That's the way this game is, and you've got to continue to stay positive and come ready to play every day," Arencibia said after the Blue Jays won for just the fourth time in 14 games.
The last time Toronto rallied from at least seven runs down to win was June 5, 2007, when it overcame an 8-1 margin to beat Tampa Bay 12-11, STATS said.
Tampa Bay last lost a lead of at least seven runs was May 25, 2009, when Cleveland came back from a 10-0 deficit to win 11-10, STATS said.
This time, Evan Longoria hit his third career grand slam as Tampa Bay built a 7-0 lead that Jeremy Hellickson and four Rays relievers failed to protect before a season-low crowd of 9,952 at Tropicana Field.
"In a lot of ways we were due, but you don't expect it to happen that way," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
"They've got a pretty good pitching staff over there, and when they put seven on the board they're usually going to have a pretty good night," Arencibia added. "Fortunately, we were able to come back and answer."
Toronto trailed 7-6 when Adam Lind drew a leadoff walk in the ninth from Rodney (1-1), who entered the game with one out in the eighth. Pinch-runner Emilio Bonifacio stole second and continued to third on catcher Jose Molina's throwing error with no outs.
Rodney, eyeing a five-out save, retired the next two batters before Arencibia lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats. Arencibia, who pinch-hit in the sixth inning and stayed in the game to catch, hit his ninth home run.
"I really would hope that people understand that he was extended beyond his normal moments right there, and that's pretty much why that happened," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, noting his bullpen was short coming off a nine-game, 11-day road trip that ended Sunday. "I thought we had no other options."
Longoria's seventh homer of the season was the biggest blow in a seven-run third inning against Mark Buehrle.
Rasmus hit a two-run homer off Hellickson in the fourth and DeRosa added a two-run, pinch-hit shot off reliever Jake McGee in the sixth.
Down 7-5, Toronto had the potential tying runs in scoring position in the seventh and eighth, but was only able to get one runner home -- on Jose Bautista's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth off Rodney.
Buehrle allowed seven runs and nine hits in six innings. He has now yielded eight home runs over his last three starts.
Luke Scott also homered in Tampa Bay's burst. The third inning was helped by Kelly Johnson's fly ball that landed over the head of Rasmus in center field for a RBI single, as well as Ryan Roberts' check-swing infield single that loaded the bases for Longoria.
Maddon asked the umpiring crew to review Johnson's single to see if it had bounced off one of the catwalks that support the roof at Tropicana Field and therefore should have been ruled a home run. The crew returned to the field after looking at the video and the play stood.
Despite being staked to the seven-run lead, Hellickson only lasted five innings. The right-hander yielded Rasmus' homer and Melky Cabrera's RBI single in the fourth and was replaced by McGee after throwing 101 pitches.
"It's a difficult loss, no question. But it's about how we react tomorrow," Maddon said. "You lose a game like this and it's tough. Everybody is going to go home very upset. It's how you bounce after the fall."
|For the first time since 2007, the Blue Jays fight back from a seven-run deficit in a game to win. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Brett Lawrie, 3B||4||0||0||0||2||3||2||.186|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||5||0||2||1||0||0||0||.258|
|Rajai Davis, PR-LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.271|
|Jose Bautista, RF||3||0||2||1||1||1||2||.228|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||5||.222|
|Adam Lind, DH||4||1||1||0||1||1||0||.228|
|Emilio Bonifacio, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.162|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||1||1||2||1||2||3||.248|
|Maicer Izturis, 2B-SS||5||1||1||0||0||0||4||.210|
|Henry Blanco, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.136|
|a- J.P. Arencibia, PH-C||3||2||2||2||0||0||1||.254|
|Munenori Kawasaki, SS||1||1||1||0||1||0||0||.255|
|b- Mark DeRosa, PH-2B||2||1||1||2||1||1||1||.225|
|a-popped out for Blanco in the 6th|
|b-homered for Kawasaki in the 6th|
|HR - Colby Rasmus (5, Hellickson), J.P. Arencibia (9, Rodney), Mark DeRosa (3, McGee)|
|SF - Jose Bautista (2)|
|RBI - Melky Cabrera (9), Jose Bautista (14), Colby Rasmus 2 (12), J.P. Arencibia 2 (18), Mark DeRosa 2 (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Melky Cabrera (6), J.P. Arencibia 2 (6)|
|SB - Edwin Encarnacion (2, 2nd base off Farnsworth/Molina), Emilio Bonifacio (3, 3rd base off Rodney/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Darren Oliver (W,1-1)||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||2.77|
|Casey Janssen (S,8)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.82|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 107-67, Esmil Rogers 21-13, Darren Oliver 16-10, Casey Janssen 10-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 5-7, Esmil Rogers 1-1, Darren Oliver 2-1, Casey Janssen 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 28, Esmil Rogers 4, Darren Oliver 5, Casey Janssen 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, CF||4||1||1||0||1||1||2||.237|
|Kelly Johnson, LF||5||1||3||1||0||1||0||.264|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||4||1||1||0||1||1||1||.237|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||5||1||2||4||0||0||3||.305|
|James Loney, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||4||.391|
|Sean Rodriguez, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.233|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.172|
|Luke Scott, DH||4||1||2||2||0||0||1||.462|
|Jose Molina, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.183|
|Sam Fuld, RF||3||1||1||0||1||2||0||.200|
|2B - James Loney (10, Buehrle)|
|HR - Evan Longoria (7, Buehrle), Luke Scott (2, Buehrle)|
|RBI - Kelly Johnson (16), Evan Longoria 4 (19), Luke Scott 2 (4)|
|PK - Desmond Jennings (1, Buehrle)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Longoria-Roberts-Loney|
|E - Yunel Escobar (3, Misplayed grounder), Jose Molina (3, Throwing)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Kyle Farnsworth (H,1)||0.1||2||0||0||0||0||0||6.43|
|Joel Peralta (H,6)||1||1||1||0||1||2||0||1.32|
|Fernando Rodney (BS,2; L,1-1)||1.1||1||2||2||2||1||1||5.06|
|WP - Jeremy Hellickson (1), Jamey Wright (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 101-61, Jake McGee 17-13, Kyle Farnsworth 12-9, Joel Peralta 22-14, Fernando Rodney 37-17, Jamey Wright 5-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 5-6, Jake McGee 1-1, Kyle Farnsworth 1-0, Fernando Rodney 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 24, Jake McGee 5, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Joel Peralta 5, Fernando Rodney 8, Jamey Wright 1|
|Attendance - 9952|
|Game Time - 3:31|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Tim Welke|