TORONTO (CBS) The Rays entered today’s game on an 11-game streak in which their pitchers have gone at least seven complete innings. Jeff Niemann went 6 1/3 innings before leaving the mound Saturday afternoon, but he did not walk away empty-handed.
Tampa Bay defeated the Blue Jays 6-5 behind another quality start from Niemann. He held the Jays’ hitters to five hits and gave up three runs in his six innings of work.
With the win the Rays improved to 72-59 on the season and moved to within seven games of the AL Wild Card leading Yankees.
The affair was back and forth for much of the day, with both clubs fighting for a much needed win. With the game at 3-2 headed into the seventh inning, B.J Upton hit a three-run blast to put the Rays up by four.
Niemann was pulled in the sixth after giving up his third run of the day, and the Tampa Bay bullpen flirted with disaster when they came close to blowing a three-run lead late in the game.
J.P Howell entered in relief of Niemann, but was soon yanked and replaced by Jake Mcgee. After giving up a home run to Eric Thames, Mcgee was pulled and Juan Cruz entered the game and gave up another homer to Edwin Encarnacion, bringing the Jays to within one.
Tampa Bay eventually escaped the eighth inning and Joel Peralta came on for the Rays in the ninth to close it out to take another win on the road.
The bullpen gave the team a minor scare toward the end of the game, partly because they haven’t been needed with how well the Rays’ starters have been performing.
Upton’s homer in the seventh provided enough cushion to squeeze by in a tough game in Toronto, but a win is a win at this point in the season.
They will face the Blue Jays in game three of this four-game series starting tomorrow at 1:07 PM ET.