Blue Jays rally in ninth to win 3-2 and prevent three-game sweep by Rays
At this point in the season, Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston will take wins anyway he can get them.
TORONTO - At this point in the season, Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston will take wins anyway he can get them.
Marco Scutaro scored the winning run on a wild pitch after Rays closer J.P. Howell loaded the bases with three walks, and the Blue Jays rallied to beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night in a game in which two umpires were injured.
The ninth-inning comeback is a rare accomplishment for Blue Jays, who are 2-53 this season in games in which they have trailed after eight innings.
After Rod Barajas tied the game at 2-2 with one out in the ninth with his 13th home run of the season, and his second as a pinch-hitter, Howell (6-4) walked the bases loaded.
Then on a 1-2 curveball to Randy Ruiz, he unleashed a wild pitch and Scutaro scampered home.
"Do you call it a bad pitch walkoff?" asked Gaston. "You take them anyway you can."
The victory before a crowd of 15,349 at the Rogers Centre prevented a three-game Rays sweep. It was the Blue Jays' fourth win against the Rays in 15 meetings between the teams this season.
"After you give up a home run like that you need to move on," Howell said. "I think I did but the results didn't come. This is as bad as a gets as a relief pitcher. Everyone does so much work to get there and you just want to get out of there, man."
Brandon League (2-5) pitched the top of the ninth and gave up two hits to pick up the win.
The Rays had a 2-1 lead as a result of Gabe Kapler's fifth homer of the season in the sixth that scored Pat Burrell, who had singled to end Marc Rzepczynski's no-hitter with two out.
The game started with four umpires and Jerry Crawford behind the plate. Crawford left the game after two innings because of back spasms, and Tom Hallion took his place.
Later, Hallion took a fastball in the chest from Rays starter Scott Kazmir as Travis Snider swung and missed for strike three to end the sixth. Hallion fell backwards and did not move as Blue Jays trainer George Poulis tended him.
He finally got back to his feet and after a delay of 21 minutes he continued at third base for the seventh with Brian O'Nora going behind the plate.
Kazmir said it was supposed to be a fastball but it went to the wrong place.
"I was holding a two-seam grip because I wanted to kind of bring it back because it was a lefty," Kazmir said. "I just flew open, it started inside and it just kept running. It hit him flush, you know, right there in the mid-section. I heard the sound when it hit him and the way he fell down, I knew it wasn't good. You never want to see anything like that."
Crawford, the crew chief, said that Hallion was feeling fine after the game.
"There was some doubt that he would be able to continue," Crawford said. "If he was having any difficulties breathing or something like that we wouldn't have let him go back out there. I would have gone back out there. We would have worked three men."
Barajas owns both of the Blue Jays' pinch-hit homers this season. The other came June 18 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gaston had considered hitting Barajas for Snider the inning before against Howell who had just entered the game but decided to wait. Instead he batted him for fellow catcher Raul Chavez.
"I was down in the bullpen," Barajas said. "Whenever if it's a tight game there's a good chance I'll get in. I was actually ready. I got the call right before the ninth inning and got some swings in.
"Once I got to that count (1-1) I just assumed (Howell) was going to throw me something soft. That's what he does well. He has full confidence in all his pitches, He threw me a curveball and it ended up being right where I like it."
Despite having a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings, Rzepczynski had five walks and seven strikeouts and was getting to his pitch limit. He finished with 116 pitches by the time the sixth was over.
"That's way too many pitches," the rookie left-hander said. "I'm glad we pulled off a win. It's a great victory."
Kazmir struck out 10 and allowed four hits and one run in his six innings.
Notes: The Blue Jays have Thursday off before visiting Boston for three games against the Red Sox. Scott Richmond (6-7, 4.09 earned-run average), Ricky Romero (11-5, 3.91 ERA) and Roy Halladay (13-7, 3.03 ERA) are Toronto's scheduled starters. Josh Beckett (14-5, 3.65 ERA), Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.02 ERA), and Jon Lester (10-7, 3.60 ERA) are Boston's scheduled starters ... The Blue Jays have placed four position players with Phoenix of the Arizona Fall League: catcher Brian Jeroloman, second baseman Brad Emaus, outfielder Adam Loewen and first baseman David Cooper ... Rays left-fielder Carl Crawford who left Monday's game with a stiff back and did not play in the final two games of the series said he expects to back in the lineup when the Rays open a four-game series in Detroit on Friday.