Blue Jays 6, Rays 4(11)
Deep flyballs don’t often do what John McDonald tells them to.
This one did.
McDonald hit a walkoff two-run homer in the 11th inning and the
Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Friday night. It
was the first homer of the season for McDonald, who shouted at his
shot as he ran toward first base.
”I was trying to talk to the ball to get it to go farther,”
McDonald joked. ”It doesn’t normally work for me.”
The drive off Rays right-hander Adam Russell (1-1) gave Tampa
Bay’s bullpen its first loss of the season.
”I liked my fastball matchup against him,” Russell said. ”It
just didn’t get where I wanted it to go and I paid the price.”
Rays relievers came in 3-0 and a perfect 4 for 4 in save
opportunities, but ended up beaten by a light-hitting backup
”McDonald is our kryptonite,” Rays manager Joe Maddon
McDonald had never hit a walkoff homer before, and said he
doesn’t relish facing Tampa Bay’s staff.
”There’s a lot of good pitchers over there,” he said. ”You
don’t go into Tampa thinking, ‘I can’t wait to face (David) Price
and (Jeff) Niemann. But anytime you can make a manager feel that
way across the other side, it makes you feel like you’re
Marc Rzepczynski (2-0) pitched one-third of an inning for the
win as the Blue Jays handed the Rays their second straight
Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit his fifth homer and finished a
single shy of the cycle. He went 3 for 3, walked twice and scored
Juan Rivera hit a one-out single in the 11th off Cesar Ramos and
Russell came on to face McDonald, who homered to left on a 1-0
McDonald didn’t start the game, coming on defensively in the
second after Blue Jays second baseman Jayson Nix was injured in a
knee-on-knee collision with Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez, who slid
into Nix while trying to break up a double play.
”I didn’t think it was a bad slide,” Nix said. ”I would have
done the same thing in the same situation.”
Nix left with a sore left knee and is day to day. X-rays were
”I have some pain in the middle of my leg, in the fibula, but
the knee is the biggest problem right now,” he said.
The Blue Jays are already without regular second baseman Aaron
Hill, who missed his second straight game with a sore right
hamstring. Hill was injured stealing second in Tuesday’s victory
over the New York Yankees.
B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the top
of the first, but Toronto tied it in the bottom half. Bautista hit
a two-out double that skipped off Sam Fuld’s glove in left, sliding
into second just ahead of the throw. Adam Lind followed with an RBI
single to center.
Fuld singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Upton in the
third, but the Blue Jays tied it again in the fourth when Bautista
tripled past a diving Ben Zobrist in right and scored on Lind’s
The Rays reclaimed the lead with a two-run fifth. Fuld scored
Kelly Shoppach with a triple to right and Johnny Damon followed
with an RBI double.
Bautista closed the gap to one with a leadoff homer to left off
Jeremy Hellickson in the fifth, then scored the tying run in the
eighth as Toronto rallied against reliever Joel Peralta.
Needing just a single for the cycle, Bautista walked on four
pitches to begin the inning, moving to second on Lind’s grounder.
Bautista was nearly picked off, staying alive when Rodriguez
dropped Peralta’s throw.
”I thought it was going to bounce, so I kind of picked my glove
up just a little bit,” Rodriguez said. ”I had it snowconed, but
when I went to turn around, it popped out.”
Edwin Encarnacion made the Rays pay by lining an RBI double off
the right-field wall.
Hellickson matched his career high by working seven innings,
allowing three runs and six hits. He walked two and struck out
Blue Jays left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes gave up four runs and six hits
in seven innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Notes: Rays LHP J.P. Howell (left shoulder) threw 25 pitches in
an extended spring training game Friday. He struck out four and
allowed two hits in 1 1-3 innings. … Rays manager Joe Maddon said
he would not use Monday’s day off to skip Niemann, who is 0-3 with
a 7.08 ERA in four starts. … Toronto OF Rajai Davis (right ankle)
began a minor league rehab assignment at Double-A New Hampshire on
Friday, going 1 for 3 with a strikeout. … Blue Jays outfielders
Scott Podsednik and Dewayne Wise both started for Class-A Dunedin
in a game at Tampa on Friday night. Podsednik has been bothered by
plantar fasciitis. … The Blue Jays traded INF Brad Emaus to
Colorado for RHP Chris Malone and a player to be named or cash.