Final Score: Blue Jays 2, Rays 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Lyle Overbay doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays edged Tampa Bay, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Edwin Encarnacion doubled and scored the other run for Toronto, which has won three of its last four games. Brett Cecil (9-5) pitched seven solid innings, allowing a run on four hits. He walked two batters and finished with nine strikeouts, one shy of his career high.
Willy Aybar had an RBI double for the Rays, who were coming off an 8-3 homestand. Tampa Bay dropped the final two games on the residency to Minnesota and now has lost three consecutive games for the first time since June 20-23.
Matt Garza (11-6) allowed two unearned runs on four hits in eight full frames.
The Rays remain a half-game behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
Toronto broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh, taking advantage of a miscue by the Rays.
Jose Bautista hit a chopper back to the mound and reached on Garza’s poor toss to first base. The error snapped a string of 12 in a row retired by the right- hander since Encarnacion’s leadoff double back in the third.
One out later, Adam Lind lined a single to right, and Bautista eventually scored the go-ahead run on Overbay’s two-out double. Tampa Bay left fielder Gabe Kapler nailed the trailing runner at the plate to end the inning, however.
“We capitalized on their mistakes,” Overbay said.
Shawn Camp hurled a perfect eighth in relief of Cecil and Kevin Gregg worked around a leadoff single in the ninth by Evan Longoria to record his 25th save of the season.
The Rays grabbed a 1-0 lead behind a two-out RBI double in the first by Aybar.
A throwing error produced the tying run for Toronto in the third. Jose Molina lined out to Tampa Bay second baseman Sean Rodriguez, who tried to double up Encarnacion at second. But he missed shortstop Jason Bartlett with the toss and allowed Encarnacion to score.
Cecil settled down on the mound after giving up three hits in the opening frame and retired 13 Rays in a row until B.J. Upton walked to begin the sixth. Rodriguez singled to place runners on first and second with no outs, but Cecil got Longoria to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Aybar then walked to put men on the corners for Ben Zobrist, who went down swinging after being ahead 3-0 in the count.
“We normally play really fabulous defense,” said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. “That’s the part that’s uncharacteristic; to make those kind of mistakes.”
Garza tossed his third complete game of the season and sixth of his career. He had won his last four decisions…The Rays have placed first baseman Carlos Pena on the 15-day disabled list with a plantar fascia sprain in his right foot and recalled pitcher Dale Thayer from Triple-A Durham on Friday…Toronto pitcher Jesse Litsch was placed on the 15-day DL and is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip next week. Litsch is expected to miss 4-to-6 months. The Blue Jays recalled pitcher Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill the vacated spot in the rotation. Mills is slated to start on Saturday against Tampa Bay.
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