St. Petersburg, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Catcher Jose Lobaton hit a walkoff homer in the 10th inning to carry the Tampa Bay Rays to a series-clinching 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday at Tropicana Field.
After striking out thrice in as many at-bats, Lobaton smacked Brad Lincoln’s 2-1 pitch to right for his fifth long ball of the season as the Rays (70-52) remained three games ahead in the wild card race.
The walkoff hit was the second in the series for Lobaton, who also ended Friday’s game with a triple.
Evan Longoria also homered in the first inning while Chris Archer had a stellar outing for the Rays, allowing just one run on a homer by Edwin Encarnacion on four hits with no walk and five strikeouts in seven innings for a no-decision.
Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney combined for two scoreless innings before Jake McGee (3-3) tossed a perfect 10th to earn the victory.
Jays starter Todd Redmond matched Archer’s efforts, also giving up a run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in six innings as the Jays slipped to 57-67. Lincoln (1-2) absorbed the loss after giving up the game-ending homer to Lobaton.
The Rays grabbed an early lead when Longoria delivered his 24th homer of the year but Encarnacion answered in the seventh with his 31st homer of the season to tie the game.
Encarnacion came inches from a go-ahead homer in the ninth before the game went to extra innings.