Toronto, ON – Matt Joyce's eighth-inning homer was the deciding run, and B.J. Upton threw out Omar Vizquel at the plate to end the game, as the Tampa Bay Rays escaped with a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the third edition of a four-game set.
Joyce finished with two hits and three RBI for the Rays, who won for just the second time in their last eight games. Ryan Roberts also homered for the victors.
Wade Davis (2-0) picked up the win after 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Activated from the 60-day disabled list prior to the game, starter Jeff Niemann didn't make it through the fourth inning. He allowed one hit and fanned four over 3 1/3 innings before departing with tightness in his right arm.
"I wasn't able to throw with any kind of comfort," Niemann said. "Since it was my first start back, I thought I would just take a precautionary view. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Fernando Rodney earned his 40th save by recording the final five outs of the contest, helped by Upton's toss home to Jose Molina on a single from Colby Rasmus.
"I knew I had a pretty good line on the throw," Upton admitted. "I was hoping it wasn't too high. Luckily it wasn't. He got it while it was up a little bit."
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Adam Lind also drove in two for the Jays, whose three-game win streak came to an end.
Henderson Alvarez (7-12) was charged in the loss for five hits and four runs with four walks in five full frames.
Joyce cranked a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth to provide a 5-2 cushion for Tampa Bay, but Toronto rallied in the home half on a two-run single by Lind coming with the bases loaded and one out off Joel Peralta.
Rodney entered and promptly walked Yorvit Torrealba before fanning both Kelly Johnson and Moises Sierra swinging to keep it a one-run contest.
Vizquel worked a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, then moved up on a sacrifice bunt. He was stranded there after a Rajai Davis fly out, then was cut down at the plate on a close play. Vizquel and Upton's throw arrived simultaneously, but Molina was able to apply the tag and hold on while preventing Vizquel a clear shot at the plate.
"All I wanted was to go around him," said Vizquel of Molina. "When he fell down he fell right on top of me and I couldn't really do anything else after that."
Tampa tallied four times in the third to assume control of the contest. Roberts started the run with a one-out, solo shot, and later in the frame Ben Zobrist doubled home a run and Joyce added a two-run double.
Encarnacion's two-run blast in the home fourth halved Toronto's deficit, coming two batters after Niemann departed and immediately after J.P. Howell walked Rasmus.
Tampa has won 10 of the 14 meetings with Toronto this season, including five of eight at Rogers Centre ... Also on Saturday, the Rays recalled infielder Reid Brignac, catcher Chris Gimenez, pitcher Cesar Ramos and outfielder Rich Thompson from Triple-A Durham ... Infielder Will Rhymes was designated for assignment to make room for Niemann on the 40-man roster.