Rays 6, Blue Jays 5
After doing some damage with his bat, Matt Joyce used his glove
to preserve a win for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Joyce homered, Elliot Johnson had three RBIs and the Rays beat
the Blue Jays 6-5 on Wednesday night, snapping Toronto’s winning
streak at six games.
In a game that saw six errors, Joyce turned in the defensive
highlight, ending the seventh inning with a running catch on Aaron
Hill’s soft flare to strand runners at first and second and keep a
two-run lead intact.
Rays bench coach Dave Martinez had just moved Joyce, the right
fielder, closer to center, expecting Hill to hit the ball in that
”The catch was huge,” Joyce said. ”I was actually shaded
toward the gap and sure enough (Hill) hit it down the line. It was
a long run. It saved a couple of runs, it stopped them from tying
the game. It was a big play.”
Manager Joe Maddon agreed.
”He’s a good outfielder,” Maddon said. ”Matty has really come
a long way defensively in the last couple of years. He made a great
The Blue Jays could have used some of Joyce’s defensive ability.
Toronto made five errors, one shy of the team record the Blue Jays
committed on May 13, 1982, at Texas. Two were charged to first
baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the AL with 10 errors.
”He had a rough night at first base tonight,” Blue Jays
manager John Farrell said. ”That’s a fact. We all saw that.”
Rays rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) won his fourth
straight start, allowing four runs, three earned, and five hits in
5 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
Kyle Farnsworth gave up a run in the ninth when Yunel Escobar’s
grounder drove in Rajai Davis, but he held on for his ninth save in
Johnson opened the scoring with a two-run single in the second,
ending up at third base on the play after two Toronto errors. Jose
Bautista’s throw from right field bounced off the second base bag,
allowing Johnson to advance to second. He went to third when
starter Jesse Litsch’s throw to second sailed into the
”It was an unusual play, no doubt,” Johnson said. ”It’s a
little bit different. You don’t really expect that to happen, but
things like that do happen, even in the big leagues.”
Johnson scored two batters later on Sam Fuld’s bunt, with Fuld
reaching safely when Encarnacion’s high flip pulled Hill off the
After Litsch hit Evan Longoria to begin the third, Joyce drilled
the next pitch over the wall in right for a two-run homer, his
”He just absolutely mangled that ball,” Maddon said.
B.J. Upton followed with a single and went to third when
Litsch’s errant pick off throw went down the right field line.
After an infield single by Casey Kotchman, Upton scored on
Johnson’s sacrifice fly.
Litsch (4-3), who had won his previous two starts, allowed six
runs, five earned, and seven hits in five innings, matching his
shortest start of the season. He walked three and struck out
Toronto got one back in the fourth when Corey Patterson led off
with a triple and scored on Hill’s grounder.
The Blue Jays took advantage of a Tampa Bay error to score in
the fifth. Designated hitter Eric Thames drew a leadoff walk and
went to third when Davis’ grounder went off second baseman Ben
Zobrist’s glove. Thames scored when Jayson Nix grounded into a
The Blue Jays chased Hellickson with a two-run sixth. Patterson
led off with a double and scored one out later when Hill doubled
off the wall in left. Encarnacion popped out but J.P. Arencibia
walked and Thames followed with an RBI single to center, his first
major league hit. Juan Cruz came on and ended the inning by getting
Davis to ground out.
Hellickson threw a career-high 120 pitches in his last outing, a
shutout win over Baltimore.
”It looked like he was actually a bit tired,” Maddon said. ”I
don’t know if the 120 bothered him from last time or not.”
NOTES: Maddon said LHP J.P. Howell (left shoulder) remains on
track to come off the 15-day DL on Friday. … The Blue Jays held a
moment of silence before the game to mark the death of former
pitching coach Mel Queen, who died last week. … Thames was
promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday when Adam Lind (back)
went on the 15-day DL.