Jays triumph over Rays thanks to unlikely source

Jose Reyes of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a single to left field during the third inning of a game...

Jose Reyes of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a single to left field during the third inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 11, 2014 at Tropicana Field. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:59 PM ET

After going 1-6 on the west coast, the Toronto Blue Jays decided a change of scenery was in order.

They couldn’t have picked a worse spot to land.

If the Jays were looking to find refuge and sanctuary, they were out of luck as there is none to be found at quirky Tropicana Field, at least not for them.

Lopsided losses, come-from-behind defeats, walkoff soul-suckers -- those are the types of games that the Trop and the Rays provide.

So, it was no real surprise that Tampa Bay would sport a 5-1 lead, add a run and then reel them back in with a three-run bomb in the seventh that tied the game 5-5.

The Jays, however, proved to be the more resilient team in the end and pulled out an 8-5 victory thanks to an unlikely source: Steve Tolleson.

The Jays backup infielder entered the game after the seventh inning due to Munenori Kawasaki being forced to leave the game because of right hamstring tightness.

Tolleson came to the plate in his first at-bat in the ninth, with one out and runners on second on third. He was facing Tampa closer Grant Balfour, a right-hander.

Now, Tolleson gets hits against right-handers about as often as icebergs are found in Tampa Bay as he had gone just 3-for-35 (.086) with one RBI against right-handers this season.

But, on a 3-2 pitch, he flared a dying quail to right field that kissed the foul line and brought both runners home.

Jose Bautista would add an RBI single on a flare to right to add some insurance.

Before Tolleson’s heroics, Dustin McGowan was the goat. Called on to provide the third out in the seventh, he walked the first two batters he faced and then threw a fat 1-1 pitch to Sean Rodriguez that the DH slammed deep into the seats in left for a game-tying home run.

Kawasaki was one of two Jays injured in the game.

In the fourth, Nolan Reimold departed with a left calf strain. Both players are day-to-day.

Following a dreadful game in their 8-7 loss to the Angels on Wednesday, the Jays picked it up and resembled a major-league team as they provided a high number of quality at-bats, bunched their hits, came through with runners in scoring position and received a decent outing from lefty Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle didn’t have his good stuff, registered just one 1-2-3 inning and was gone after five innings in which time he allowed two runs on nine hits.

But, he left with a 5-2 lead and was in line for his first victory since June 1.

Trailing 1-0, the Jays posted a three-run third. Colby Rasmus started it with a single to right and just promoted Dan Johnson walked. It was the first of four walks for Johnson in the game.

After Juan Francisco struck out — the sixth strikeout victim of Chris Archer — Jose Reyes singled to left to load the bases. Kawasaki followed with a RBI single to right.

Melky Cabrera then hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Logan Forsythe could glove but not make a play on which gave the Jays the lead.

Bautista added their third run with a line drive sac fly to right.

The Jays added to their lead in the fourth thanks to a two-out, two-run sinking line drive to right by Jose Reyes that a diving Ben Zobrist couldn’t grab.

ROTATION CHANGE

On Sunday, the final day before the all-star break, the Jays originally had J.A. Happ scheduled to make the start.

The plans have now been changed, however, and instead R.A. Dickey will toe the rubber.

Manager John Gibbons said the change was made due to the fact that Dickey has had good success against the Rays in the past at the Trop.

On that he’s right.

“He’s been so good down here we’re going to pitch Dickey here,” Gibbons said.

In his career, Dickey is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA in six starts at the Trop including a complete-game, two-hit shutout last year on June 26.

BACK TO RIGHT

For Friday and the next two games here, Jose Bautista will remain at first base.

On Tuesday, when he is at the All-Star Game, Bautista will make the start in right field.

Gibbons is OK with allowing Bautista, who missed some time due to a right hamstring issue, to play in the outfield on Tuesday even though he has not been in right since the initial injury June 22 in Cincinnati.


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