Bombs away: Rays over Blue Jays 6-4 with home run heroics

Toronto got one back in the home half of the frame. Always a threat, Jose Bautista hit a two-out, solo shot to left in the bottom of the first on the 1-0 offering from Rays ace lefty David Price.

Three innings later, Bautista did it again. Taking a dinger to left on Price’s 3-1 pitch, Bautista tied it up, providing all the offense for the Jays. Price was lucky to not have any baserunners when this guy stepped to the plate...

Zobrist at the plate; stock photo
Fuld walked again, this time to lead off the top of the sixth for the Rays. As Damon struck out, Super Sam ran for his major league-leading 10th stolen base of 2011. Morrow got the early hook, one out into the frame, to end his first appearance of the season. Carlos Villanueva came on and didn’t fare much better, walking Joyce on four pitches. Zobrist stepped to the plate and took the 1-1 pitch into the second-deck seats in right field, reasserting the Rays’ lead with a monster 3-run shot.

Sean Rodriguez led off the top of the sixth with a free bag courtesy of a fastball to the thigh from new Jays pitcher Casey Janssen, likely retaliation for the slide in 2B Jayson Nix the evening prior. Reid Brignac reached on a bunt single that was scored a sacrifice and error to Janssen, giving the Rays two men on with no outs. Fuld grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Brignac sliding hard into second as the force out, preventing Jays SS Yunel Escobar from even attempting the double play. Escobar was gun-shy again on Fuld’s slide into second on the next exchange, a fielder’s choice that allowed Rodriguez to score to make it 6-2.

Price may have clued into how to prevent Bautista from hitting home runs; he walked him to open the bottom of the seventh. A one-out base hit from Jose Molina moved him to second and created the first real Blue Jays threat of the game. Travis Snider looked to pick up a two-out single or better but Fuld closed out the Toronto half of the seventh inning with yet another highlight-reel catch in left field.

Price, having pitched well throughout, went for the complete game heading into the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single to Bautista, who moved to second on defensive indifference with Adam Lind at the plate; Lind smacked an RBI-double to right and moved to third on a base hit by Molina, prompting Price’s egress from the day’s festivities. Kyle Farnsworth came on to put out the fire and promptly gave up a single to Rivera, allowing Lind to score. The Rays seemed to benefit from a close call at first on Snider’s bunt attempt, with Lind scoring on the play; 1B Casey Kotchman may have stepped off the bag at first a bit early. Friday-night hero John McDonald stepped to the plate for Toronto and chopped a grounder to Farnsworth for the easy out. A Mike McCoy grounder to third put this one in the books, setting up the rubber match tomorrow.

Fuld continues to impress, scoring two runs and making stellar plays in the outfield. Rays fans have to be happy seeing Damon pick up where he left off. Zobrist? What else is there to say? Frickin' BAM!

Sunday’s matinee kicks off at 1:07 p.m. in the land of poutine, Bryan Adams and… what else do they have up there? Oh yeah, Moosehead. Great, now I’m thirsty…

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinTall

click to enlarge Damon on deck; stock photo - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
Damon on deck; stock photo

Damon on deck; stock photo

After a tough, walk-off loss in extras the night before, the Tampa Bay Rays looked to take one back from the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon. They turned to ace lefty David Price, who threw eight impressive innings in the 6-4 win.

Dangerous right-hander Brandon Morrow took the hill for Toronto. Morrow, a strikeout machine, laid down a nasty outing against the Rays last August; he threw a career-high 17 strikeouts—the most by any MLB pitcher in 2010—in a no-hit bid that Evan Longoria broke up with a two-out single in the ninth inning. Morrow struck out the side in the top of the first Saturday, but not before the Rays put two runs on the board. Sam Fuld walked to lead off and scored when Johnny Damon cracked a home run to right on the 3-1 pitch from Morrow to take an early, two-run lead. Following, Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton went down in succession.

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