The highlight of the evening came at the end of the 3rd inning when the scoreboard reflected a 7-0 Rays lead. After that the offense failed to add any more runs and the Blue Jays continued to pressure the Rays bullpen by adding 3 runs in the 4th, 2 in the 6th, 1 in the 8th, and finally the dagger a 2-run homer by J.P. Arencibia on a 2-2 pitch in the top of then ninth to put the Jays ahead 8-7.
Fernando Rodney (1-1, 5.06) took the loss and the Rays record falls to 14-17. Darren Oliver (1-1, 2.77) picked up the victory and the Blue Jays record improves to 12-21. Casey Janssen came in to retired the Rays in order in the 9th picking up his 8th save on the season.
Jeremy Hellickson was not sharp lasting only 5 innings (101 pitches/67 strikes) allowing 3R/ER on 6 hits, walking 4 while only striking out 3. He was replaced by Jake McGee who worked the 6th inning and gave up 2-runs on 2-hits while striking out 1. Kyle Farnsworth came in and recorded 1-out in the 7th and departed with runners on 1st and 2nd for Joel Peralta retired the final two batters to end the 7th inning. After a lead off single and a 1-out walk Peralta’s night was over and Fernando Rodney was summoned and asked to get the 5-out save. Rodney was victimized by a Yunel Escobar error that extended the inning and led to an unearned run but escaped further damage with the Rays holding a 7-6 lead. Rodney got within 1 strike of nailing down the save in the 9th but gave up a 2-run homer to J.P. Arencibia before being replaced by Jamey Wright who retired the only batter he faced.
Mark Buehrle worked 6 innings and gave up 7R/ER on 9 hits striking out 5 and walking 2. Esmil Rogers came in to work a scoreless 7th inning and was replaced by Darren Oliver who worked a scoreless eighth and Casey Janssen who held the Rays scorelss in the ninth.
The Rays erupted for all 7 runs of their runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning against embattled Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle thanks to a grand slam by Evan Longoria and a 2-run blast by Luke Scott. The Rays offense only mustered 3-hits the rest of the game while the Rays bullpen and defense allowed the Jays to come charging back.
In his last outing Jeremy Hellickson was handed a 5-0 lead entering the bottom of the 3rd inning after three innings but was unable to keep the Kansas City Royals off the scoreboard and departed after 5 innings with the Rays holding a 5-4 lead.
Similar to his last start against the Royals he was unable to hold the opposition in check and immediately gave up a double to Adam Lind and a 2-run homer to Colby Rasmus. He labored through the inning walking #9 hitter Munenori Kawasaki who eventually came around to score on a 2-out RBI single by Melky Cabrera cutting the Rays lead to 7-3.
Following the same pattern as the last start versus the Royals Jeremy Hellickson was removed after 5 innings and replaced by Jake McGee and like the Royals game the game got uncomfortable rather quickly.
McGee’s rocky 2013 season continues as he gave up an infield single to Maicer Izturis and then surrendered an opposite field home run on an 0-2 pitch by pinch hitter Mark DeRosa to cut the Rays lead to 7-5.
The game remained tenuous and the Rays were lucky to escape the 7th inning with the lead. Kyle Farnsworth allowed back to back singles to Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and then Encarnacion stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Adam Lind sent a rocket 1-hopper to Ryan Roberts who threw home to gun down Jose Bautista trying to score while keeping Encarnacion at 2nd. That would be all for Kyle Farnsworth as he was replaced by Joel Peralta who came in to strike out Colby Rasmus and retired Maicer Izturis on a fly out to center field.
Joel Peralta’s night came to an end after allowing a leadoff single to J.P. Arencibia and a 1-out walk to Brett Lawrie. He was replaced by Fernando Rodney who induced a tailor made double play ball off the bat of Melky Cabrera but Yunel Escobar bobbled the ball and all runners were safe to bring Jose Bautista to the plate with the bases loaded. Bautista delivered a sacrifice fly to score Arencibia and advancing Brett Lawrie to 3rd to cut the Rays lead to 7-6. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a grounder to third that Longoria back handed and threw a bouncer over to first just in time to get Encarnacion and end the inning.
The ninth inning wasn’t any less stress free as the 7th or 8th as Adam Lind drew a leadoff walk. Lind was replaced by Emilio Bonafacio who stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Jose Molina. With the tying run at 3rd base and nobody out Fernando Rodney went to work. He struck out Colby Rasmus for the first out and retired Maicer Izturis on a sharp grounder to first baseman James Loney for the second out. The stage was set for a battle between J.P. Arencibia and Fernando Rodney and after falling behind in the count 2-0 Rodney came back to even the count at 2-2 before Arencibia lined a 2-run homer to give the Jays a 8-7 lead. After the homer Jamey Wright came in to get the final out.
After singling to lead off the game for the Rays Desmond Jennings was picked off by Mark Buehrle. It was Buehrle’s 89th career pickoff which ranks 2nd among all active players. He trails Andy Pettitte who has 97 and is ahead of Rays reliever Jamey Wright who has 58.
Evan Lonogoria’s grand slam in the 3rd inning was the third of his career and first since 2009. His first slam came against then Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay and his most recent against Justin Masterson then of the Boston Red Sox.
The Rays have now had their starting pitcher complete at least five innings in their first 31 games tying the 1943 Tigers for 5th most since records were kept going back to 1916. The Rays only trail the 1981 Pirates (45), 1972 Dodgers (33), 1912 Blue Jays (32), and 1965 Dodgers (32).