Jays' five errors halt six-game streak
The Toronto Blue Jays didn't just throw away their six-game winning streak. They bobbled it and dropped it, too.
The Blue Jays made a season-high five errors in losing 6-5 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. Matt Joyce homered and Elliot Johnson had three RBI for the Rays, who have won six of seven road games.
''Full moon tonight?'' Toronto manager John Farrell asked. ''It's somewhat inexplicable. We've been playing very good baseball.''
The five errors were one shy of the team record six they committed on May 13, 1982, at Texas.
Two of Toronto's errors were charged to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the AL with 10 miscues this season. Encarnacion could have had three errors, but Johnny Damon was given a hit after reaching when Encarnacion bobbled his first-inning grounder.
''He had a rough night at first base tonight,'' 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 10 opportunities.
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 outfield.
''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 bag.
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 seventh.
''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 one.
''It's not what you want to do, getting the team down in the dumps early,'' Litsch said. ''You've got to go from there. You've just got to keep pitching.''
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 double play.
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.