Blue Jays find the magic late in win over Rays

The Toronto Blue Jays took the long way to the top on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field, scoring a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3.

Russell Martin provided the go-ahead blast with his 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot that scored Dalton Pompey from second base to break the 3-3 tie.

Pompey had just come on to pinch hit for designated hitter Dioner Navarro, a late-inning role that he excelled in last season. The 23-year-old stole second on the very first pitch after Navarro’s walk.

Navarro was also responsible for the very first run of the day in the first inning, driving in Edwin Encarnacion with a single to right field. Devon Travis also had a productive day at the plate, driving in Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders with a bases-loaded single in the seventh. Tulowitzki had a pair of singles while Josh Donaldson walked twice.

J.A. Happ didn’t manage to complete three full innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. The veteran left-hander needed 85 pitches in just two and two-thirds innings, representing a rare blip on an otherwise strong season. Danny Barnes was first on in relief and was excellent, giving the Blue Jays two and a third shutout frames.

Following a scoreless inning from Scott Feldman, Joaquin Benoit struck out the side in the seventh, earning the win and recording his 1000th career save.

Jason Grilli then struck out two in a clean eighth before Roberto Osuna earned his 30th save of the season, striking out two batters and not allowing a base runner.

The Blue Jays travel to New York tomorrow and open their series with a rare Monday afternoon game. R.A. Dickey (9-13, 4.43 ERA) is scheduled to face Masahiro Tanaka (11-4, 3.12) as the Yankees look to make their final push towards the American League Wild Card race.

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