Matt Joyce, Jose Molina star as Rays edge Jays
Toronto, Canada (4E Sports) – Matt Joyce collected three RBIs and backup catcher Jose Molina stymied a game-tying run at the plate as the Tampa Bay Rays snapped a two-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday at Rogers Centre.
Joyce drove in a two-run double in the third inning behind Ryan Roberts’ solo shot and an RBI single by Ben Zobrist to put the Rays ahead by 4-0.
In the next frame, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 36th homer — a two-run shot – to left center to bring the Jays to within 4-2.
Joyce, however, was not done for the day as he drove his 15th homer of the year to deep right to give Tampa Bay a 5-2 advantage before the Jays threatened at 5-4 after a two-run single by Adam Lind in the eighth.
In the ninth, Rays closer Fernando Rodney walked Omar Vizquel, who moved to second after a sacrifice fly by Adeiny Hechavarria. After Rajai David flied out to center, Colby Rasmus hit a single to shallow center and Vizquel tried to run for home but Molina was there to block him.
Starter Jeff Niemann returned from the disabled list and cruised for four innings but left the game due to tightness in his right arm.
J.P. Howell took over and gave up a two-run shot to Encarnacion that ended his team-record scoreless-innings streak snapped at 27 1/3 innings. He had not given up a run in his previous 24 outings.
Wade Davis (2-0) then replaced Howell and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. Rodney got the last five outs for the Rays for his 40th save in 42 opportunities.
Henderson Alvarez (7-10) was saddled with the loss after giving up four earned runs on five hits. He also walked four and had just one strikeout in five innings. Alvarez is now fifth in the American League in homers allowed after surrendering his 25th long ball of the season to Roberts.
The 22-year-old Alvarez hasn’t won since July 28 and his ERA soared to 6.56 since the All-Star break. He is winless against Tampa Bay in four starts this season with a 6.35 ERA and 32 hits allowed in 22 2/3 innings.