St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Jose Bautista’s 43rd home run of the season highlighted a 10-run sixth inning as Toronto hammered the Rays, 13-5, at Tropicana Field.
Bautista leads the league in homers with his three-run blast giving him 102 RBI on the year, becoming the second player in the majors to reach the century mark. He later added an RBI single for a four-RBI night, but still trails the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in the category.
Aaron Hill had a two-run homer, John McDonald hit a solo home run and DeWayne Wise ended with three hits, knocked in two and scored twice in the rout that snapped a two-game skid and evened the three-game series at a game apiece.
Meanwhile, Toronto starter Ricky Romero (11-8) pitched a three-hitter, leaving after 7 1/3 innings having allowed five runs — four earned — and five walks with as many strikeouts.
Tampa Bay faltered a night after taking the series opener, 6-2, and saw the Yankees grab sole possession of first place in the AL East by a game with their 9-3 rout of Oakland on Tuesday. The Rays still lead Boston in the wild card standings by a healthy seven games.
The hosts’ undoing came by way of starter Jeff Niemann (10-5), who was roughed up for seven hits and seven runs in five-plus innings. He pitched to six batters in the fateful sixth frame without recording an out before Lance Cormier came on to allow four runs.