Blue Jays 13, Rays 5

Ricky Romero and his Toronto teammates thoroughly enjoyed a big

inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 43rd homer during a

10-run sixth inning and the Blue Jays beat Tampa Bay 13-5 on

Tuesday night.

”You love that,” said Romero, who pitched into the eighth

inning for his 11th win. ”You wish you could see that every night.

We’ve taken a lot of whippings from those guys, so it’s always good

when we get to do it to them.”

Tampa Bay lost for only the fifth time in 17 games but fell a

game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. The

Rays and Yankees, who beat Oakland 9-3, had been tied atop the

division for the previous eight days.

Bautista capped the sixth-inning outburst with a three-run shot

off reliever Lance Cormier that put the Blue Jays up 11-3. It was

the most runs scored in one inning by Toronto since an 11-run sixth

on July 25, 2007, at Minnesota.

”We have a tough time with those guys,” Toronto manager Cito

Gaston said. ”Anytime we can score that many runs off that team

it’s always nice. It turned out to be what I call ‘a coaches and

managers night,’ when they can sit back and kind of relax a little

bit.”

Bautista also had a broken-bat, run-scoring single – giving him

103 RBIs this season – during a two-run eighth that extended the

cushion to 13-3. He was hit on the upper left thigh by a pitch in

the first of two plate appearances during the sixth.

”It hurt,” said Bautista, who still had a red spot after the

game where the ball struck him. ”I didn’t think much of it. We got

a pretty good rally going there. We got the win and that’s all that

matters.”

Romero (11-8) gave up five runs, three hits and five walks in 7

1-3 innings for the Blue Jays, who can stop a stretch of 10

straight series defeats at Tampa Bay with a win on Wednesday

night.

”They can really strike quick,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

”That’s what they do. That’s who they are.”

Jeff Niemann (10-5) struggled in his second consecutive start

since returning from a strained right shoulder, giving up seven

runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. The Tampa Bay

right-hander has allowed 17 runs over 8 2-3 innings in his past two

outings.

Neimann allowed only two hits though five innings before Toronto

started the sixth with five hits and a hit by pitch. DeWayne Wise

had an RBI single, Vernon Wells hit a two-run double, and Adam Lind

and John Buck had consecutive RBI doubles as the Blue Jays took a

6-3 lead and ended Niemann’s night.

”I’m still not sure what happened,” Niemann said. ”I felt

great early and all of a sudden I couldn’t get anybody out.”

Cormier entered and gave up Aaron Hill’s two-run homer that made

it 8-3.

Romero held the Rays hitless until there were two outs in the

fifth, when Ben Zobrist hit an RBI single and Dan Johnson drove in

a pair with a double to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-1.

John McDonald put the Blue Jays up 1-0 in the third on his

second homer in the last three games.

Romero allowed two baserunners through four innings – walks to

Zobrist and B.J. Upton – and both were erased on double plays. The

left-hander got early defensive help when Wise made a diving catch

in right on Upton’s drive leading off the first.

Reid Brignac had a two-run single in the eighth for Tampa

Bay.

Notes: Toronto has 201 homers this season. … Rays reliever

Grant Balfour (ribs) could pitch in a simulated game Wednesday. …

Gaston said the Blue Jays got Bautista’s home run ball, which

helped him reach 100 RBIs for the first time, back from the fan who

caught it.