Beckham's clutch double paces Rays' comeback over Jays
By Bill Chastain and Gregor Chisholm
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham's two-run double in the eighth inning led the Rays to a come-from-behind 4-2 win over the Blue Jays Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
With the Rays trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, James Loney tied the game with a pinch-hit double that drove home Evan Longoria. Beckham followed with a double off the top of the left-field wall -- a near home run that was reviewed by the umpires -- to drive in David DeJesus and Loney.
The Rays have now won four in a row heading into Sunday afternoon's finale.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rookie keeps rolling: Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the first inning off right-hander Ramirez. Travis later scored on an RBI single by Donaldson. During that streak, the rookie infielder has five doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs. He entered the game leading all rookies in hits (21), RBIs (16), average (.375), on-base percentage (.435), extra-base hits (10) and OPS (1.168).
Gomes remains golden: Rays reliever Brandon Gomes continues to dazzle. Since being selected from Triple-A Durham after veteran Grant Balfour was designated for assignment, Gomes has made four scoreless outings. Saturday night he allowed one hit while striking out two in two innings.
Longoria gets four hits for fifth time: Longoria tied a career high with four hits. The Rays third baseman has now accomplished the feat five times. He last had four hits in a game on April 27, 2013 against the White Sox in Chicago. Saturday night was the first time he's accomplished the feat at home and his fourth hit started a two-out rally that led to the Rays taking the lead.
"It would have been all for nothing had we not come back and won," Longoria said. "The hits are great and it's nice to finally see some results. But more importantly, I was happy to get that blooper in the eighth to kind of get something started and then the rest of the guys took over and got some big RBIs."
Bullpen imploded: The Blue Jays beleaguered bullpen suffered yet another blow on Saturday night when a trio of relievers wasn't able to secure a win for Norris, who tossed seven strong innings. Roberto Osuna retired two batters in the eighth but then surrendered an opposite-field single to Longoria. Lefty Brett Cecil entered and allowed a single to the only batter he faced and then the wheels came off for Miguel Castro. Toronto's closer surrendered back-to-back doubles as the Rays stole a win late. > More
"What are you going to do? It's on the schedule. You've got to play here, right? Play better. They outplay you. The pitchers, they've got a great approach and they execute their pitches. It shuts down an offense pretty good. We never seem to hit a lot here, but you move on. Tomorrow's another day." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on his team's struggles at Tropicana Field.
"They were actually talking about me hitting for Beckham. Glad that didn't happen. Right?" -- Loney on the eighth inning.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays made history on Saturday night by becoming the first team in Major League history to have three Canadian position players in their starting lineup: right fielder Michael Saunders (Victoria, British Columbia), left fielder Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ontario), and catcher Russell Martin (East York, Ontario). > More
Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez nearly cut his ERA in half by allowing just one earned run in four innings Saturday night. The right-hander brought a 21.32 ERA into the game and he left with a greatly reduced 13.94.
An umpire review saw the men in blue take a look at Beckham's double in the eighth to see if the hit was actually a home run. The call on the field was upheld. In the top of the ninth, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged an out call at first when Loney, the Rays first baseman, had to reach to field Longoria's throw from third. The call on the field was upheld.
David DeJesus replaced Desmond Jennings in the eighth inning, as Jennings encountered some left-knee soreness. He is day-to-day.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will be on the mound for the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon and so far this season that has meant good things for Toronto's lineup. In three Buehrle starts this year, the Blue Jays have combined to score 37 runs. That's more run support than any starter in the big leagues has received but it will be a daunting task repeating that type of performance with Chris Archer going for the Rays.
Rays: Archer will start for the Rays and the right-hander is on a roll. He has not allowed an earned run since the sixth inning on Opening Day against the Orioles, including three consecutive starts without allowing an earned run. Sunday he will have a chance to become the first AL pitcher with four consecutive starts without an earned run in one season since Zack Greinke began the 2009 season with four straight for the Royals.
is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the
Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.