Toronto, ON – Adam Lind belted a two-run home run and finished with three runs batted in as the Blue Jays defeated the Rays, 7-3, in the opener of a three-game series at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.
Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie each stroked solo shots for the Jays while starter Ricky Romero (2-0) tossed six-plus innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with three walks for Toronto, which has won two straight.
Carlos Pena smacked three hits for Tampa Bay and Matt Joyce added a solo shot.
Jeff Niemann (0-2) was touched for five runs -- two earned -- on three hits while striking out five over five-plus innings for the Rays, who have dropped six of their last eight games.
After Bautista fired a strike to catch Pena trying to stretch a single into a double in the top of the first, Bautista used his lumber in the bottom half, launching a mammoth shot into the second deck in left field for his second home run of the season and a 1-0 Toronto lead.
Toronto struck for three in the third after the first two Jays reached base on consecutive errors from third baseman Evan Longoria. J.P. Arencibia then moved to third on Kelly Johnson's fielder's choice before scoring on Bautista's sacrifice fly to left, extending Toronto's advantage to 2-0.
Lind quickly made it 4-0, as he belted a 2-2 curveball the opposite way for his first homer of the season.
The Rays got two back in the fifth as Joyce hit a one-out single and Sean Rodriguez followed with a walk. Reid Brignac and Carlos Gimenez then registered consecutive singles, scoring Joyce and Rodriguez to cut the lead in half.
Back-to-back walks found the Jays with runners on first and second to start the bottom of the sixth. After Edwin Encarnacion whiffed, Eric Thames hit a soft tapper to third but Longoria's off-balance throw missed the mark, allowing Lind to score from second as Longoria was charged with his third error of the game.
Joyce got the run back in the top of the seventh, as he lifted Romero's second offering into the seats in right field to pull the Rays within 5-3.
The Jays added a run each in the seventh and eighth for insurance as Lind plated Yunel Escobar with a single in the seventh and Lawrie launched a solo shot in the eighth to account for the final margin.
Longoria committed three errors for the first time in his career...Tampa Bay was 12-6 versus the Jays last season...Tampa Bay went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base...Toronto finished 3-for-9 with RISP and stranded seven base runners. Wednesday's matchup features lefty David Price for the Rays against right-hander Brandon Morrow for the Jays.