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Tampa Bay Rays rally for 4-3 win and two-game sweep against Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO — So much of the past week or so had been about losses for the Rays. The three players they placed on a disabled list that now totals eight, and the games they let get away in New York and again in Baltimore.

But as they celebrated loudly in the Rogers Centre clubhouse on Tuesday and headed out for a late-night flight home, they were all about winning.

A tense 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays was their third straight, salvaging a rugged road trip at 4-4 and leaving them tied for first place, and with the league's best record at 23-14.

"Four and four off that road trip is spectacular,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "Some tough games in New York. Some tough games in Baltimore. To come back and beat a very good team, Toronto, here, coming from behind both nights, that's spectacular."

Maybe it's attitude. Ambivalence. Ignorance. But somehow, no matter how dire things are, they are able to overcome.

"We've been dropping like flies, and just when you think the wheels are going to fall off we continue to find a way," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "That's what it's about, and that's what this ballclub is about.

"We're not going to quit. We're always going to find a way to win, no matter what we have to do. And that's what happened tonight."

It helped, of course, to have David Price on the mound, as he gave them the good start — seven solid innings — he usually does in Toronto, where he is unbeaten in six games, and against the Jays overall, 11-2.

But Price put them in an early hole in what amounted to a two-pitch sequence in the third inning: an RBI single by Jose Bautista, followed by a two-run homer by Edwin Encarnacion.

"That one inning could have cost us the game," Price said.

No matter, though. Despite adding leftfielder Desmond Jennings, starter Jeff Niemann and reserve Brandon Allen to the injury list, and after dropping four of the first five games on the trip, they showed again that they won't get down or give in.

"Our guys come ready to play every day and they're not impacted by what happened the previous day if it were negative,'' Maddon said.

The comeback was keyed by some of the players getting extended opportunities due to the injuries, such as Will Rhymes, who twice singled and scored, and sizzling Elliot Johnson, batting .500 (11-for-22) during a career-best seven-game hitting streak. Plus they got a big homer by Sean Rodriguez to start their three-run seventh and took advantage of several Toronto miscues.

Though Fernando Rodney ended it with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 11th save, there was some excitement as Toronto's Brett Lawrie exploded at a strike three call by Bill Miller, got ejected then earned himself a suspension by flinging his helmet and having it hit the umpire. "An unlucky bounce,'' Lawrie said.

As they head home to play the Red Sox and Braves, the Rays feel they again have things going their way. "We could easily have gone 1-7,'' Price said. "(So) that was a pretty good road trip for us, especially with all the injuries we're dealing with right now.''

Rays 4

Blue Jays 3

Tampa Bay Rays rally for 4-3 win and two-game sweep against Toronto Blue Jays 05/15/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:08pm]
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