- Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In the first of a four game series, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7. The Rays would score all of the runs in the third Inning, highlighted by an Evan Longoria grand slam off of Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle. A two-run-homerun Luke Scott would cap off the Rays half of the inning and it appeared as if Mark Buehrle would not be long for this game and the Jays were headed to another loss.
Yet, Buehrle, despite his struggles so far this season, has been a pitcher who, over his career, has a reputation as a guy who will pitch deep into games and save your team’s bullpen even when he does not have his ‘A’ stuff on the day. He did just that, as he would not allow the Rays to score in the final three innings he worked. For the Rays, Jeremy Hellickson would like Buehrle would figure in a no-decision went five innings and continued to struggle with his command, something that was also an issue in his last start last Wednesday in a no-decision outing vs. the Kansas City Royals. The Jays came into the game into this game as one of if not the biggest disappointment in MLB so far with a record of 11-21 and nine and a half games out of the AL East lead. In the seventh inning, the Blue Jays had runners on and second and third and no outs and failed to get a runner across.
Just as it seemed like the Blue Jays would squander away another chance in the top of the ninth inning, J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run homerun off of Fernando Rodney who had come on with one out in the eight inning, to take an 8-7 lead and Casey Janssen would close the game out for the Blue Jays win.
Both teams in this game showed why they both have a below .500 record at this point of the season and the Rays and with the Rays, beginning an 10 game homestand, giving away the first game will be one that will be discouraging. At the same time, the fact that Yunel Escobar continues to struggle defensively at shortstop has to be disconcerting for Rays fans as he had an error in the eight inning that allowed Arencibia to get on base and eventually score and in the ninth, was unable to handle a throw from Benji Molina on an attempted stolen base.