TORONTO (AP) — Matt Garza made 102 pitches Friday night. The only throw the Tampa Bay right-hander wanted back most, though, was an easy toss to first base.
Lyle Overbay doubled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, Brett Cecil won for the first time in four starts and the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of two Tampa Bay errors to hand the Rays their third straight loss, 2-1 Friday night.
Garza and second baseman Sean Rodriguez made throwing errors for the unusually sloppy Rays, who made only three errors on their just-concluded 11-game homestand, going 8-3.
“There was no margin for error tonight, based on the pitching on both sides,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Cecil (9-5) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, walked two and struck out nine, one shy of his career high. The left-hander said he threw more cutters and sliders than usual.
“I relied a lot on those pitches tonight,” Cecil said. “I got a couple of strikeouts on both and got a couple of the changeup as well.”
Cecil is 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his past six starts.
“He’s been real impressive,” Overbay said. “Just talking to the guys, the not-so-many guys who got on first base, they were saying he had his game today.”
Shawn Camp worked the eighth and Kevin Gregg pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn his 25th save in 29 chances.
Toronto won despite failing to hit a home run for the first time in 14 home games. The Blue Jays have lost eight of 13 home games against the Rays, dating to last season.
Garza (11-6) allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings for the Rays, who hadn’t lost three straight since June 20-23. Garza walked none and struck out four.
The Rays scored their only run in the first. Rodriguez hit a ground-rule double to right and scored one out later on Willy Aybar’s double to left.
Ben Zobrist followed with an infield single but Cecil set down the next 13 batters.
“Two of our last three losses have been by 2-1 scores,” Maddon said. “Obviously we need to do a bit more offensively.”
Toronto tied it in the third. Edwin Encarnacion led off with a double that bounced under the glove of Gabe Kapler in left. When Jose Molina followed with a liner to second, Rodriguez tried to complete the double play but threw the ball down the left field line, allowing Encarnacion to score without a play.
“At first I thought we had a shot at him,” Rodriguez said. “Literally the minute the ball left my hand I said ‘Man, there was no play.’ Sure enough, the ball ends up in left field.
“You always get upset when you make mistakes and make errors,” Rodriguez added. “That one hurts, especially with the way (Garza) threw.”
B.J. Upton ended Cecil’s streak by drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth and Rodriguez followed with a single, but Evan Longoria grounded into a double play. Aybar walked, putting runners at the corners, before Zobrist struck out to end the inning.
“That was our best opportunity right there,” Maddon said.
The Blue Jays took the lead in the seventh, a rally that started when Bautista bounced back to the mound but was safe when Zobrist bobbled Garza’s low throw.
“It’s a routine play, you can’t mess that up,” Garza said. “It’s going to a rough one to swallow.”
Vernon Wells struck out, Adam Lind singled and Aaron Hill flied out before Overbay hit an RBI double over the head of Kapler in left. Kapler recovered the ball and fired a one-hop strike to the plate to throw out Lind, who was trying to score from first.
NOTES: The Rays placed 1B Carlos Pena (right foot) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Aug. 1, and recalled RHP Dale Thayer from Triple-A Durham. … Blue Jays RHP Jesse Litsch will have season-ending surgery on his right hip next week. LHP Brad Mills was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace him in the rotation. … Rays OF Carl Crawford was held out of the lineup but will start Saturday, Maddon said. … The complete game was Garza’s third of the season and the sixth of his career. … Blue Jays C J.P. Arencibia will make his major league debut Saturday. He was called up Wednesday when John Buck (right thumb) went on the 15-day DL.