ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Matt Duffy saved his best for last.
Duffy’s ground ball found a hole between third and short with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday and drove in the game’s only run in Tampa Bay’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
”After seeing that many zeroes, it’s definitely awesome to come out on top in that game,” Duffy said after a game in which eight pitchers gave up a total of 10 hits.
Duffy drove in Mallex Smith, who doubled with one out and moved to third base on a groundout.
Diego Castillo (1-0) got his first major league win after pitching two innings of relief.
Ryan Tepera (3-2) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for the Jays, who were swept in the three-game series and have lost five of six to the Rays this season. It was the 12th time the Blue Jays have scored one run or none this season, and the first time since August 2011 they were held without an extra-base hit for a second straight game.
”I have no explanation for it. It’s the way it is,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Curtis Granderson had the first three of Toronto’s five hits, leadoff singles in the first, third and fifth innings, and was the only runner to reach third base until Smith in the ninth.
With two outs in the Toronto ninth, Aldemys Diaz hit a line drive off Castillo that was caught by left fielder Johnny Field near the top of the wall, the best-hit ball of the game by far.
”Luckily, I was playing deep and it was high enough that it didn’t seem like one of those no-doubters off the bat,” Field said. ”He got under it just enough to give me a chance to get back there.”
Toronto starter J.A. Happ allowed one hit and three walks in five innings. He was lifted after throwing 98 pitches, 30 in the first inning.
”I try to give credit where credit is due. I thought they did a good job of fouling some good pitches off,” said Happ. ”They made it difficult. Certainly, I’d like to go more than five innings, but I was happy to keep them off the board.”
Rays starter Wilmer Font gave up two hits in 3 1/3 innings, and Matt Andriese gave up two hits in 3 2/3 innings.
”That’s two days in a row now that the bullpen came in and really picked us up in a big way,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. ”They pieced it together really well.”
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) will run the bases Thursday and if all goes well could join Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) was scheduled to start a minor league assignment Wednesday night with Class A Dunedin against Charlotte.
Rays: OF Johnny Field was back in the lineup after missing two games with a sprained knee.
SIXTEEN NOT SO SWEET
Thursday’s game at New York marks the start of a 16-game stretch in which the Rays will play only the Yankees, Astros and Nationals. ”We’re going to really see what kind of team we have here against the best in the league,” Blake Snell said. The Rays are 11-26 against winning teams.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.33 ERA) will pitch Friday night against the Washington Nationals in the opening game of a five-game homestand.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30 ERA) will start in Thursday night’s opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against Domingo German (0-4, 5.32). Snell is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his past four starts.
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