Toronto, ON – Jose Bautista homered twice and later singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Toronto Blue Jays capped a series win over the Tampa Bay Rays with a 4-3 victory at the Rogers Centre.
"Any time you win a series, it's big," said Bautista. "We're ready to go with some momentum against the Orioles. We just have to keep the energy up and hope for the best."
With Cesar Ramos (1-1) on the hill, Colby Rasmus singled to lead off the Blue Jays' half of the tenth and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Emilio Bonifacio. Three batters later, Bautista slapped an 0-2 offering from Kyle Farnsworth into right field for his first career walk-off hit.
Bautista went 4-for-4, drove in all four Toronto runs and clubbed his 10th and 11th homers of the season, the latter of which forced extras in the bottom of the ninth after James Loney's RBI single put Tampa ahead, 3-2, in the top half.
Aaron Loup (2-3) pitched around a leadoff single in the top of the 10th to earn the win.
"Everybody is doing their best, they're trying," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "It's just not working out."
Toronto wasted no time getting started in the bottom of the first inning. Anthony Gose poked the first pitch he saw off Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson into left for a double, and Bautista knocked him in with a bloop single to center.
Mark Buehrle, who allowed two runs in seven innings of work, retired the first six Tampa batters he faced and struck out the side in the second. However, he got into some trouble in the third.
Tampa Bay took the lead with two runs that were the result of a mistake at second base by the Blue Jays' Maicer Izturis.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Ryan Roberts dribbled a weak ground ball to second that Izturis attempted to field with his bare hand but let it roll past him into short right field. Jose Molina trotted home on the play, with Ben Zobrist then plating Desmond Jennings with a sharp grounder that got through for a single.
Evan Longoria then drew a walk to load the bases, but Buehrle got Loney to fly to left to avoid further damage.
Bautista opened the bottom of the fourth with a no-doubter into the second deck in left field to knot the score at 2-2. J.P. Arencibia's infield single later in the frame was the last hit that Hellickson, who yielded two runs on four hits over eight innings, would allow.
After Toronto pitchers had faced the minimum for five straight innings, Longoria's slap double to right with one away in the ninth provided a spark for the Rays. After fouling off four pitches and working the count to 2-2, Loney followed with an RBI single up the middle to put the visitors in front.
Bautista sent the game into extras with his second long ball of the game, which came with no outs off Rays closer Fernando Rodney, who has now blown four save chances this season.
"I think I made good pitches," said Rodney. "A type of hitter like that, like Bautista, you make good pitches and he hit your best pitch. That's how I feel. Nothing you can do."
The Blue Jays have four wins against Tampa this year, all of which were decided in the seventh inning or later ... Longoria extended his career- best hitting streak to 16 games ... The Rays went 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position.