Jake Odorizzi throws 8 strong, Rays beat Blue Jays to open series
TORONTO (AP) -- After Jake Odorizzi gave the Tampa Bay Rays eight impressive innings, a pivotal double play in the ninth made sure his efforts didn't go to waste.
Odorizzi earned his second win and the Rays scored on consecutive bases-loaded walks issued by R.A. Dickey to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Monday night, Tampa Bay's third straight victory.
"It's great right now to get that roll going," Odorizzi said.
The Rays improved to 3-10 all-time in opponent's home openers, sending a sellout crowd of 48,414 home unhappy.
Waving rally towels, the crowd briefly came alive after Jose Bautista walked to begin the ninth, but quieted down quickly when Bautista was thrown out trying to steal second as Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging on a full-count pitch.
"Unbelievable play," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That might have been as big a play as we've had so far this season."
Josh Donaldson followed by flying out to the warning track in right for the final out.
"In this stadium you never know with a ball going in the air," said Rays closer Brad Boxberger, who posted his third save.
Odorizzi, who allowed one run and two hits, is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays. The right-hander set down the final eight batters he faced.
"I can't say enough," Cash said. "They had some opportunities and put us in a bind a little bit but he just really stepped it up."
After Desmond Jennings and Allan Dykstra singled to begin the fourth, Dickey (0-1) retired the next two batters but then walked three in a row, including 3-2 passes to David DeJesus and Steven Souza.
"They did a good job of laying off some really close pitches and I didn't make the big pitch when I had to," Dickey said.
They were the fifth and sixth bases loaded walks for the Rays this season. Entering play Monday, the 29 other major league teams had combined for eight.
Odorizzi held Toronto hitless through the first 4 2-3 innings before Kevin Pillar doubled on a shallow flyball that bounced past a diving Souza in right. Devon Travis followed with an RBI single.
It was the first run allowed this season by Odorizzi, who pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings in an April 8 victory over Baltimore.
Odorizzi issued two-out walks to Bautista and Encarnacion in the first, with both runners advancing on a wild pitch. Donaldson struck out looking to end the threat.
That was the first of 12 straight outs for Odorizzi, who didn't allow another baserunner until Pillar's double.
Dickey allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, walked five and struck out six. The knuckleballer hadn't walked five since an April 17 loss at Minnesota last season. He walked five or more twice in 34 starts in 2014.
Reviews were mixed on Toronto's new artificial turf surface, which plays much slower than the one it replaced. "It appeared as if the ball was never getting to you," Cash said. When Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fielded a grounder in the third, he ended up with a piece of rubber fill in his eye and needed attention from the trainer. On the plus side, the new turf has no shortage of cushion. "Feels good on my feet," Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey said. "Definitely softer."
ALL STAR HOSTS AGAIN?
Commissioner Rob Manfred was on hand for Toronto's opener, and he said beforehand that the Blue Jays could be in line to host the All-Star game for the first time since 1991. "There's no reason why Toronto couldn't be competitive bidder for an All-Star game in the fairly near future," Manfred said.
Rays: LH Drew Smyly (left shoulder) will make his second rehab appearance at Class-A Charlotte on Tuesday. ... LH Jake McGee (elbow surgery) threw 30 pitches of live batting practice at extended spring training Monday.
Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders (left knee) got the day off after feeling soreness in his right hamstring during Sunday's rehab game at Class-A Dunedin. Saunders is expected to DH on Tuesday.
Rays RH Matt Andriese makes his first career start against Toronto on Tuesday. Andriese will be the 25th different pitcher to start for the Rays since 2008, the fewest in baseball over that span. He's Tampa Bay's fourth rookie starter in the first eight games of the season. The Blue Jays counter with LH rookie Daniel Norris (1-0, 4.76).