Jays sting Rays with 10-run burst in sixth

ST PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - The power-hitting Toronto Blue Jays unleashed a devastating 10-run assault in the sixth inning to demolish the Tampa Bay Rays 13-5 on Tuesday.

The Major Leagues' leading home-run scorers notched nine hits and two homers in the sixth where they tallied their highest run total in a single inning since the 2007 season.

Slugger Jose Bautista hit a three-run blast for his league-leading 43rd home run of the season, and added an RBI single in the eighth.

"It seemed like it just happened so quickly," Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells told reporters after finishing with two hits and two RBIs.

Starter Jeff Niemann was charged with seven runs in five innings for Tampa Bay (81-51), who fell a game behind the New York Yankees at the top of the American League East.

The Rays had been in a tie with the Yankees for eight days before running into the free-swinging Blue Jays (69-63).

For Niemann, it was his second poor start since returning from the disabled list with an injured shoulder, the latest onslaught coming after he had allowed 10 runs against the Los Angeles Angels last Wednesday.

Toronto starter Ricky Romero tossed 7 1/3 innings and allowed five runs to get the win.

Tampa Bay had taken a 3-1 advantage in the fifth on a two-RBI double from Dan Johnson before the Blue Jays erupted in the next inning.

"Any time we can score that many runs off of that team, it's always nice," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "We (usually) have a tough time with those guys."

(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O'Brien)