Menu

Baseball

Adam Lind's Lind game-ending homer gives Blue Jays 5-4 win over Rays

Adam Lind thought he'd hit a game-winning home run. Then he wasn't so sure.

Turns out he was right the first time.

Lind hit a two-run drive off Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning Sunday, giving the Toronto Blue Jays a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

As the ball sailed toward the right-field corner, Lind wasn't sure his low drive had enough to clear the fence.

"When I hit it, I thought it was a home run for sure," Lind said. "Then I saw the topspin start to take over, and I didn't think it was going to make it, but it did. I saw it barely clear the fence, and it was awesome."

It was the second game-ending homer for Lind, who connected the last time Toronto won in that fashion, a 10th-inning home run that beat Seattle on Sept. 26 last year.

With Toronto trailing 4-3, Aaron Hill led off the ninth with a single off Soriano (2-2), who had converted his previous 19 save chances since July 20. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Lind lined his 22nd home run of the season, ending the Blue Jays' four-game losing streak.

"He has been absolutely brilliant for us all year, and they got him today," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Toronto leads the majors with 224 homers, including a big league-high 128 at home. The Blue Jays have connected in a season-high 14 consecutive games, hitting 29 homers in that stretch.

"If you make a mistake, even with two strikes, it can go far," Maddon said.

Tampa Bay, which began the day a half-game behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees, outhit the Blue Jays 8-5 but lost for the fifth time in eight games. It was the third blown save in 45 chances for Soriano.

Soriano said he wasn't feeling 100 percent after sleeping poorly but said he never considered asking for the day off.

"To me, that's not an excuse," Soriano said. "I threw a good pitch, and I don't know how he hit it like that. You know, bad day. You can't win every single day. I want to, but you can't."

It's the first time this season Soriano surrendered a walkoff hit.

"Hopefully that's the last one," Rays outfielder Carl Crawford said.

Tampa Bay won't have long to dwell on the defeat. The Rays begin a three-game series at home to the Yankees on Monday night, with 17-game winner David Price starting against 19-game winner CC Sabathia.

"Every series from here on out is a big deal, until we clinch," Crawford said. "When we play the Yankees tomorrow, it's probably going to have that playoff atmosphere."

B.J. Upton's ninth-inning sacrifice fly off Kevin Gregg (2-5) had put Tampa Bay ahead following Brad Hawpe's one-out walk and Desmond Jennings' hit-and-run single.

Rays starter Jeff Niemann allowed three runs, two hits and four walks in five innings. He is 0-3 with a 15.6 ERA in four starts since missing 20 games in August because of a strained right shoulder.

Toronto's Shawn Marcum gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.

Held hitless through the first three innings, the Rays went ahead in the fourth on doubles by Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist.

Toronto took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half after loading the bases. Hill hit a bouncer toward the mound and Niemann's flip to catcher Dioner Navarro sailed high as two runs scored.

"He just made a bad flip, no question," Maddon said. "He had more time than he thought."

John Buck capped the rally with a sacrifice fly.

Zobrist had an RBI double in the sixth and Marcum threw a run-scoring wild pitch.

NOTES: Toronto RHP Kyle Drabek will be promoted from Double-A New Hampshire on Wednesday to make his major league debut against Baltimore. Drabek, who went 14-9 this season, is a son of former NL Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. ... Rays 1B Carlos Pena was held out of the starting lineup. ... Tampa Bay leads the majors with 159 stolen bases. ... Toronto also homered in 14 consecutive games in 2002. ... Longoria's double in the fourth was his 44th this season, matching his career-high.