ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Tim Beckham had a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Saturday night.
Grady Sizemore had a leadoff double off Roberto Osuna (1-6), who later loaded the bases with two outs with two walks. Beckham won it with his liner to left.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the fourth consecutive game for the Blue Jays, who fell one game behind Kansas City for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs heading into Sunday’s end of the regular season. Toronto does hold the tiebreaker.
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John Jaso and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Rays. Alex Colome (8-5) worked the ninth to get the win.
Encarnacion put the Blue Jays up 3-1 on his 39th homer this season, a two-run shot off Brandon Gomes in the sixth.
Encarnacion, Jose Bautista (40) and Josh Donaldson (41) set a team record – breaking the mark set in 1998 by Jose Canseco (46), Carlos Delgado (38) and Shawn Green (35) – for most homers by three players in one season with 120.
Marco Estrada allowed two runs, three hits and struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings. He had his stretch of 21 scoreless innings this season against Tampa Bay ended five pitches in when Jaso hit a leadoff homer in the first.
Cabrera cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-2 with his seventh-inning shot.
The Blue Jays tied it at 1 on a third-inning RBI single by Bautista.
Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer gave up one run, five hits, one walk and had three strikeouts over five innings. He became the seventh pitcher since 1900 to strike out (252) more than 250 and not have a winning record (12-13) for the season.
Others to accomplish it are Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Ben Sheets and Ed Walsh.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki, who returned Friday after missing three weeks with a cracked scapula and bruised upper back muscles, had a planned day off and will play Sunday.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb played catch for the first time since having Tommy John surgery in May. ”Felt good,” said Cobb, who might return next August.
Blue Jays: GM Alex Anthopoulos said RHP Drew Hutchison (13-5) is expected to start Sunday and LHP Mark Buehrle may get the chance to pick up the two innings needed for a 15th consecutive season of 200 or more innings.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore (2-4), coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, starts Sunday. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts.