Tropicana Field has been no paradise for the Blue Jays, so it isn't the best place for them to wrap up a 10-game trip.
And the omens were bad Tuesday before the opener of a three-game series.
--Toronto's best player, right fielder Jose Bautista, was expected to miss all three games because of a stiff neck that has become worse since it forced him from Sunday's game for a pinch runner. He is not expected back until sometime this weekend during the four-game series against the Tigers.
"The MRI just shows the spasms," manager John Farrell said. "There's no spine issues or anything like that. He'll have to go through some baseball activity once he's symptom-free."
--The Jays had left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes on the mound, and he had not won a start since June 13, 2008, against the Angels, when he was with the Atlanta Braves, a string of 23 starts. That is the longest stretch since Matt Young's string of 27 winless starts for the Mets and Cubs over the 1992-94 seasons.
The one thing in the Jays' favor was that they seem to do well in the first games of series. They went into Tuesday's game 13-1 in series openers going back to last season, and they were 8-1 in openers this season.
It appeared as if those first-game wins might continue, and it appeared that Reyes finally had a winning start. But those hopes disappeared with the ball that B.J. Upton hit into the crowd against closer Jon Rauch in the ninth for a two-run, walk-off homer. Reyes now hasn't won in 24 starts, but this one was no fault of his own. He tossed six innings of one-run ball.
Toronto's Tropicana Field woes continued with the 3-2 loss. The Jays are 10-27 there starting in 2007, the year before the Rays won their first of two AL East titles.
There are two games left on a trip that started so well with three wins in the four games at Texas. But that was followed by two losses in three games in New York. The 4-1 start to the trip has become 4-4. There's still a chance to come home at least even, but at Tropicana Field, the Blue Jays can never count on winning. They have done that only four times in their past 21 games there.
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