Sports

Odorizzi’s Solid Outing Helps Rays Beat Blue Jays

FRED GOODALL, AP Baseball Writer
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 12:  Yunel Escobar #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays jumps to slide into home plate ahead of catcher Dioner Navarro #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays to score off of a two-run single by Kevin Kiermaier during the sixth inning of a game on July 12, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 12: Yunel Escobar #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays jumps to slide into home plate ahead of catcher Dioner Navarro #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays to score off of a two-run single by Kevin Kiermaier during the sixth inning of a game on July 12, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Jake Odorizzi pitched into the seventh inning and Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist delivered key hits during a six-run outburst that helped the Tampa Bay Rays to a 10-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Pitching a day earlier than scheduled because All-Star David Price was ill, Odorizzi (5-8) allowed three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings. The 24-year-old right-hander walked two and struck out seven to improve to 3-1 over his last five starts.

Kiermaier and Joyce had three RBIs apiece and Zobrist finished with two.

The 1-2-3 hitters in the Rays lineup also combined to drive in five runs during a six-run sixth inning. Pinch hitter Cole Figueroa drove in the first run of the inning, drawing a bases-loaded walk from Drew Hutchison (6-8) to snap a 2-2 tie.

The loss was the seventh in nine games for the second-place Blue Jays, who remained three games behind division-leading Baltimore in the AL East.

Despite its recent struggles, Toronto’s 49 wins are the most the Blue Jays have had before the All-Star break since 2006. A win Sunday would give them their first road series victory over Tampa Bay since April 2007, as well as 50 wins before the break for the first time since 1992.

The Rays, meanwhile, stopped a four-game losing streak against their division rivals, winning for just the third time in nine tries against Toronto this season.

Hutchison beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on April 1 at Tropicana Field and 10-5 in Toronto on May 26, despite not pitching six innings in either outing. He didn’t make it through the middle innings against them this time, either, running into trouble when the Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a single and two walks.

The Blue Jays starter fanned Jose Molina, but watched the go-ahead run cross the plate when Figueroa walked after fouling off three pitches on a full count.

J.A. Happ replaced Hutchison, but couldn’t shut down the rally. Kiermaier, Zobrist and Joyce hit consecutive ground ball singles through the left side of the Toronto infield, building Odorizzi’s lead to 8-2.

Hutchison was charged with six runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked five and struck out seven.

Colby Rasmus tripled and scored on Juan Francisco’s second-inning sacrifice fly for Toronto. Dioner Navarro had an RBI single in the fourth and Anthony Gose added a run-scoring single in the seventh for the Blue Jays.

NOTES: Rays manager Joe Maddon said that he anticipates Price will start Sunday’s season finale against R.A. Dickey, which would make it a matchup of Cy Young ward winners. … Tampa Bay CF Desmond Jennings (bruised left knee) and C Ryan Hanigan (soreness left side) were held out of the lineup, though Maddon said both were able to play in case of an emergency. … The Blue Jays placed OF Nolan Reimold on the 15-day DL with a strained left calf and recalled OF Anthony Gose from Triple-A Buffalo. … Toronto INF Munenori Kawasaki, who left Friday night’s game because of tightness in his right hamstring, did not start but was available off the bench. … Musician Joan Jett, who performed a postgame concert, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and also handled the public address announcer’s job for two innings.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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