ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays’ 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night was their 62nd of the season. Alex Colome has saved 37 of them, the most in the major leagues.
Colome gave up a run for the first time in nine appearances. But after giving up hits to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce and a sacrifice fly that left the potential game-tying run on third base, he got a ground ball with the infield in and a flyout to finish the game.
“Even if things get a little hairy, he trusts his ability,” winning pitcher Chris Archer said. “He’s allowed to give up a run every now and then, he’s human. But he got that save, and that’s why he’s a lock-down reliever.”
“I try to keep the ball down and get ground balls,” Colome said. “That’s what I was thinking – keep the man on third, try to get some popup or ground ball.”
Lucas Duda and Corey Dickerson homered in the first two innings and Archer struck out 10 for the Rays, who have won only three of their last 11. The Blue Jays lost their fourth straight.
Duda’s 23rd home run (sixth with Tampa Bay) came off rookie Chris Rowley in the first inning after Norichika Aoki had led off the game with a homer off Archer.
Dickerson hit his 23rd homer in the second, starting a three-run inning off Rowley that put the Rays ahead 4-1.
Aoki drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth after a double by Ezequiel Carrera and an RBI single by Ryan Goins.
Carrera had entered the game in the third inning after the ejection of Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
Josh Donaldson’s 21st home run came off Rays reliever Tommy Hunter in the eighth.
Miguel Montero made it 6-5 with a sacrifice fly off Colome.
Colome’s 37 saves are “a product of the style of baseball we play,” according the Rays manager Kevin Cash. “We play a lot of tight games, we pitch well for the most part, and we’re in a lot of tight games. The bulk of our wins are relying on him to get the final three, four or five outs.”
Archer (9-7) gave up three runs (one earned) and four hits in six innings.
Rowley (1-1) gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings in his third major league start for the Blue Jays.
“I was working the corners a little bit and got behind,” Rowley said. “The last time I pitched against them I got away with it a little bit more, just didn’t tonight.”
Part of Pillar’s 4-minute explanation of his ejection: “I get it, we’re living in sensitive times and these umpires are highly sensitive, but at the same time it is part of their job description. They’re human beings, they are going to make mistakes. I’m a human being, I’m going to offer my opinion. I just think it’s sad.”
NO SINGLES OR DOUBLES
After his first three major league starts, left-handers are hitting only .185 against the right-handed Rowley. However, the five hits include three triples and two home runs.
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin (left oblique) missed his 10th game and is not close to returning, according to manager John Gibbons.
Rays: Of the RHPs on the disabled list, Alex Cobb (turf toe) will start Thursday’s game; Jake Faria (abdominal strain) will resume throwing on Thursday; Matt Andriese (hip stress reaction) will make a rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A Durham.
RHP Marcus Stroman (11-6) will try to end Toronto’s four-game losing streak Wednesday night against RHP Austin Pruitt (6-4).