ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If the Toronto Blue Jays thought the Tampa Bay Rays would be easy pickings without David Price on the mound they were dead wrong.
Price, the Rays’ lefty ace, was scratched from making his start Saturday due to a stomach virus and remains doubtful for Sunday’s series finale.
With Price a no-go the Rays moved Jake Odorizzi up one day in the rotation and the right-hander responded by giving the Rays a solid outing in helping Tampa Bay to a 10-3 victory.
This game the Jays bullpen took a beating.
After Friday’s triumph, the Jays were looking to secure the series with a win, which would have marked their first series victory at Tropicana Field since 2006.
On that they’ll have to wait at least another day.
The Rays put the game away with six runs in the sixth inning to make a loser of Drew Hutchison, 7-7, who has lost his last two starts, both on this road trip.
Hutchison had been in survivor mode for all but one of his innings but couldn’t escape the sixth when the Rays loaded the bases with nobody out on two walks and a single.
Hutchison struck out Jose Molina for the first out — the right-hander’s 100th punch out this season — but lost pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa when he walked him on a 3-2 pitch to bring in the go-ahead run.
That was it for Hutchison. He was replaced by J.A. Happ, who was bumped from making the start Sunday in favour of R.A. Dickey.
Happ added fuel to the fire as he surrendered a two-run single to Kevin Kiermaier, RBI single to Ben Zobrist and bloop two-run single by Matt Joyce.
Sergio Santos was no better in the eighth inning allowing two additional runs.
Odorizzi, by the way, held the Jays to three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings to move to 5-8. He walked two batters and struck out seven.
The Jays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning and looked to be on the verge of building a big inning before things were shut down quickly.
Jose Bautista started it off with a sharply hit grounder that second baseman Sean Rodriguez initially fumbled. He then hurried his throw to first, which was off line and bounced into the Rays dugout allowing Bautista to advance to second base on the error.
Dan Johnson came to thep late and on a check swing dropped a bunt-like roller up the third-base line for an infield single that also moved Bautista to third. Dioner Navarro followed with a line drive rocket up the middle to give the Jays a 2-1 lead.
But with two on and nobody out the rally stopped there as both Colby Rasmus and Juan Francisco struck out and Steve Tolleson ground into a fielder’s choice.
The lead didn’t last long as Tampa Bay came back with a run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Jose Molina. The Rays then stranded two runners as Hutchison came back to strike out both Sean Rodriguez and Keirmaier.
The wheels of Kiermaier, the Rays’ leadoff hitter, plus some nonchalance on the part of Jays right fielder Anthony Gose led to the Rays putting a run on the board in the first.
Kiermaier opened with a line drive to right. Gose fielded the ball in casual fashion and was caught off guard when the Rays centre fielder raced around first base and headed to second. By the time Gose gathered the ball and fired to second, Kiermaier had easily beaten the throw.
After moving to third base on a deep fly to centre field, Kiermaier came trotting home on a sac fly to centre by Matt Joyce.
The Jays came back to tie it 1-1 in the second inning thanks to a miscue by Kiermaier.
Believing he could outrun the ball, Kiermaier raced in on a sinking line drive off the bat of Colby Rasmus. Diving forward for the ball, he came up short and the ball bounded by him and rolled all the way to the wall by which time Rasmus found himself an easy triple.
Juan Francisco brought him home with a sac fly to left field.