Toronto, ON – Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez each drove in two runs as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-1, in the opener of a two-game set.
Ben Zobrist hit a solo home run and scored twice while Elliot Johnson also drove in a run for the Rays, who have won their past two.
Tampa starting pitcher Jeff Niemann suffered a small fracture in his right fibula during the game. Niemann gave up a single and a walk in the first inning, then took a line drive off his right leg from Adam Lind. Niemann got Lind out at first then, after getting checked by a trainer, retired Edwin Encarnacion.
He came out for the second inning and started to warm up, but was removed after talking with the trainer and manager Joe Maddon. After the game, the team stated that he was put in a walking boot and was on crutches and that he would be out four to six weeks.
"The ball was not hit that sharply so I thought it would just be like a stinger kind of a thing and then he'd be able to walk it off," said Maddon.
Five relievers combined to pitch the final eight innings with Cesar Ramos (1-0) getting his first career win after giving up one run on two hits with three walks over three innings. The final four pitchers gave up just one hit and two walks over five innings.
Kelly Johnson had two hits and drove in the lone run for the Blue Jays, who have lost three of their last four. Brandon Morrow (4-2) was touched for six runs -- all but one unearned -- on four hits with four walks and seven strikeout over five innings.
Tampa didn't get its first hit of the game until the fifth inning when Will Rhymes led off with a double. Two batters later, Johnson tied the game with a single. Zobrist then grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning, but the next five batters reached base.
B.J. Upton walked and Matt Joyce then reached base on a Lind error, scoring Zobrist. Carlos Pena struck out, but the third strike was wild and he made it to first base. Scott hit a two-run single and Rodriguez followed with a two- run double for a 6-1 lead.
"Once that big inning happened for them it kind of drained us," Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames said. "We tried to claw our way back but it didn't work out."
Ramos lasted through the fourth inning, setting the Blue Jays down in order in the frame, before handing the ball to Wade Davis, who walked one batter in his two innings of work.
J.P. Howell retired the side in order in the seventh and Burke Badenhop did the same in the eighth. Zobrist led off the ninth with a solo homer for a six- run lead.
Jake McGee allowed the first two batters to reach base in the ninth, but then struck out the next three men to end the game.
Toronto pushed its lone run across in the second. With two outs, Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia worked consecutive walks before a single to left from Johnson scored Rasmus.
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