St. Petersburg, FL – Maicer Izturis snapped a tie game with a solo homer in the top of the ninth inning and behind a spirited effort from the bullpen, the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for the second straight day to upend the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-4, in the second test of a four-game set.
A terrifying moment occurred in the second inning when Jays starter J.A. Happ was taken off the field by stretcher after taking a line drive from Desmond Jennings off the side of his head. He remained conscious and was brought straight to the hospital.
"Unfortunately, that's part of the game," said Toronto reliever Brad Lincoln, who took over for Happ on the mound. "Stuff happens like that. Thoughts and prayers go out to him, but you've still got to go out there and compete and play the game."
Forced to dig into its bullpen early, four Toronto relievers combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings, with Steve Delabar (3-1) tossing two innings of one-hit ball. Casey Janssen worked a perfect ninth to notch his ninth save.
Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer, Adam Lind went 2-for-4 with a solo shot and two runs scored, while Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera each plated a run to help Toronto earn back-to-back victories at Tropicana Field for the first time in almost five years.
Joel Peralta (0-2) was tagged with the loss for the Rays, who blew a seven-run lead in an 8-7 loss to the Jays on Monday. The Tampa Bay bullpen spoiled a solid start from Roberto Hernandez, who tossed six innings of one-run ball and struck out seven.
"It's a bad stretch for almost everyone in the bullpen right now," Peralta said. "We're probably trying too hard. And sometimes the harder you try, the worse it goes."
After Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing a play at the plate in which the Rays' Sean Rodriguez clearly avoided a tag but was called out, the second inning became frightening.
Happ had allowed the tying run to score when his wild pitch brought James Loney home from third, and shortly after was drilled in the side of the head by a line drive off the bat of Jennings.
The shot ricocheted into right field and two runs came home on the hit that would go for a triple, but the situation on the mound became the cause for concern, as Happ laid motionless with blood pouring from his head.
Happ would be immobilized but was conscious and able to move his hands. He waved to the crowd before leaving the playing field. When the game resumed, Ryan Roberts sent a single into left to put the Rays ahead 4-1.
The Jays were stifled for the next four innings, only putting forth a pair of singles, but finally began to break through in the seventh when Jake McGee took over for Hernandez.
Lind led off the frame with a double and Rasmus clubbed a two-run homer into right center to bring the Blue Jays within 4-3.
The Jays pulled even in the eighth following back-to-back doubles from Cabrera and Bautista, and while they failed to take the lead during the frame despite having runners at first and third with no one out, they went ahead for good the following inning.
Peralta took the mound for Tampa Bay and served up a tie-breaking solo homer to Izturis with one away. Brett Lawrie then reached with a two-out single and came all the way around to score on Cabrera's double down the right-field line to give Toronto a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Janssen needed just 10 pitches to work a 1-2-3 ninth.
Lind put Toronto ahead early, lining a solo homer over the right-field wall in the second to stake Toronto to a 1-0 lead.
The Rays lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season ... The last time the Blue Jays won consecutive games at Tropicana Field was on July 20 and Aug. 26, 2008 ... Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion struck out to end the ninth and was ejected for arguing the call ... Tampa Bay starters have worked at least five innings in all 32 of its games this season ... The Rays have lost 13 games in which they have held a lead at some point, the most in the majors ... Jennings, Roberts and Rodriguez each had two hits for Tampa Bay.