Jays beat Rays after nervous ninth
By Bill Lankhof, Toronto Sun
|The Jays' Adam Lind hits a two-run homer off Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeff Niemann during the first inning at Tropicana Field Wednesday. (REUTERS)
Someone old, someone new and someone blue.
Add it together and the Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a nerve-tingling 3-2 win over Tampa.
The familiar was Adam Lind, who had the first four-hit game by a Blue Jay this year to spark the offence. He has now hit over .500 on the road trip as the Jays try to find offence without the injured Jose Bautista.
The new was rookie David Cooper, whose RBI double in the fourth opened a 3-0 lead. And the blue? That would be the umpires who spent the night giving both managers John Farrell and Joe Maddon the heave. Or, it might just have been the Rays who once again couldn't solve Toronto starter Brandon Morrow. Tampa had batted just .126 against him in his previous five starts and this time he struck out seven to run his record to 1-1.
Frank Francisco made the ninth too interesting, stranding the tying run at third base after giving up a run on Sam Fuld's RBI single.
This, one night after Jon Rauch blew a save.
Toronto hasn't done anything the easy way -- 19 of its games have been decided by two runs or less. In the seventh Farrell pulled Morrow with two runners aboard, then got ejected by plate umpire Chad Fairchild -- his first ejection as a manager.
One play later, reliever Jason Frasor got Fuld to hit a ball to Edwin Encarnacion at third. He got the force, then Adam Lind (pulled from the bag by the throw) put the tag on Fuld. Initially, he was called safe, but Jays' bench coach Don Wakamatsu came out to argue. Toronto won that argument -- the double play ending the inning; Rays' manager Maddon got tossed.
B.J. Upton was ejected leading off the ninth, going ballistic at Fairchild when called out on strikes for the fourth time in the game.
Lind homered for the fifth time in the last eight games to give Morrow a 2-0 cushion in the first inning. That also extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Toronto took a 3-0 lead in a fourth. Encarnacion, hitting just .200 on the road trip, had a leadoff single. Rookie Cooper slapped an RBI double down the right-field line.