Published September 24, 2012
| Sports Network
St. Petersburg, FL – B.J. Upton hit a solo homer in the first inning and Jeremy Hellickson tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings, as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0, to complete a three-game sweep.
Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Rays, who have scored 46 runs during a five-game winning streak.
Hellickson (9-10) gave up five hits while striking out six and walking two for Tampa Bay, which remained 3 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card spot.
Chad Jenkins (0-2), making his first career start, allowed one run on two hits over five innings for the Blue Jays, who have lost six straight. He made 10 relief appearances prior to Sunday's start.
"A two-out hit was elusive, and in the end we're sitting there with a goose egg on the board," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Upton homered to left in the first to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.
Toronto wasted a golden scoring opportunity in the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion singled, Adam Lind walked and Yunel Escobar walked to load the bases with two outs. Jake McGee took over for Hellickson and got Kelly Johnson looking at strike three to end the threat.
The Blue Jays put a runner on third with two outs in the seventh. This time around, J.P. Howell made a nice throw to first on Colby Rasmus' groundout.
"That's an impossible play," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Howell's throw. "He makes a great pitch, full swing, Rasmus runs well, and he makes that play."
Tampa Bay tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth. Desmond Jennings singled and Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked. Longoria followed with a two-run double to right-center field.
Fernando Rodney worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to pick up his 44th save of the season.
Tampa Bay went 14-4 against the Blue Jays this season ... Hellickson won for the first time since Aug. 20.