JA Happ leads Blue Jays over Rays 7-2
J.A. Happ has been through a lot this season. Facing the team that made his year so tough, he went out a winner.
Happ won for the first time in four starts, Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar hit two-run homers and the Blue Jays beat Tampa Bay 7-2 Saturday, dropping the Rays into a tie with Texas for the second AL wild-card berth.
Happ spent almost three months on the disabled list after he was hit on the head by a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings on May 7. Happ also injured his right knee when he fell to the ground in pain, requiring a lengthy rehabilitation.
''It's been a long, tough year for him,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Happ. ''Overall it's a great way to finish for him. He can go into the offseason feeling confident and healthy.''
Happ (5-7) worked a season-high 7 1-3 innings, allowing one run and five hits to win for the first time since Sept. 7 at Minnesota.
''It feels really good,'' he said. ''I've been working and battling and feeling like I was close. I feel like finally the last several starts I've kind of been putting it together. It feels good to end on a good note.''
Happ faced Jennings for the first time since the injury when the outfielder pinch hit for Jose Molina in the eighth inning. He grounded out to third base.
Adam Lind had two hits and three RBIs and Brett Lawrie reached base four times as the Blue Jays continued to make life tough for the Rays, who start left-hander Matt Moore (16-4) Sunday against rookie right-hander Todd Redmond (4-2).
Maddon insisted his bullpen is in good shape even after Saturday's starter, Chris Archer, lasted just 2 1-3 innings. The right-hander, who allowed one run and five hits, is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA in his last six starts.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring for the second straight game when Ben Zobrist hit a leadoff double in the first and scored when Wil Myers singled off the glove of Lawrie at third.
Lind's RBI single tied it in the third as the Blue Jays started the inning with three straight singles off Archer, who left after striking out Sierra. Alex Torres (4-2) came on and stranded runners at second and third.
Lind made it 3-1 with a two-out, two-run single down the third base line off Torres in the fourth, and the Blue Jays pulled away with a four-run fifth.
Aaron Loup came on after pinch-hitter Tim Beckham singled in the eighth and needed just five pitches to finish the inning.
NOTES: The Rays lost consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 10-11 against Boston. ... Lawrie went 2 for 3 and walked twice. ... Lind returned to the lineup at DH after missing two games with a sore back. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki in the fifth. ... Rays SS Yunel Escobar (left ankle) started for the first time since Tuesday. ... Blue Jays assistant GM Jay Sartori is leaving the team next month for a job with Apple Inc.