Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays score seven in eighth to rally past Toronto Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon told his team in the spring that one of the big keys to getting back to the playoffs would be playing better late in games.

Saturday night's 9-3 win over the Blue Jays was a perfect illustration of what can happen if they do just that.

The bullpen got some huge outs, holding on just long enough for the Rays to break out for a seven-run eighth-inning rally that turned a one-run deficit into a momentum-building win in front of a Summer Concert Series crowd of 23,870.

"There's no question that, with our lineup, we're not out of any game until the final out," reliever Dan Wheeler said. "That's a big inning for us as a group. … You're not really expecting to put seven runs on them, but that's the kind of explosion we have as an offense."

Right-hander Jeff Niemann gave the Rays a chance with another strong start, striking out eight and walking just one over 62/3 innings; he gave up three runs on two homers, both on 3-and-2 counts.

"As far as stuffwise, that was the best I felt all year," Niemann said. "They hit two decent pitches out."

The bullpen helped bail Niemann out in the seventh, with lefty Randy Choate striking out Fred Lewis with the bases loaded to keep the Rays within a run.

"That," Maddon said, "was a big play."

The Rays (13-5) scuffled against Jays lefty Ricky Romero, even in the seventh, when they advanced the tying run to third with no outs before stranding John Jaso. Jaso, who had a big day with a two-run homer (the first of his career) in the fifth and a huge block in the eighth on a Wheeler pitch in the dirt, played a role in the wild eighth-inning rally against the Toronto bullpen.

The hitters did it all, showing patience (three walks) and craftiness (Willy Aybar's surprising bunt single down the third-base line). They delivered clutch hits, with B.J. Upton ending a great at-bat with the tying RBI single. Reid Brignac put the Rays up for good with a bases-loaded walk, and Jaso knocked another in by getting hit with a pitch before two-run singles by Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist put the game out of reach.

"We feed off each other every day," Brignac said. "And when (Evan Longoria) got the hit to start us off and (Carlos Peña) walked, and then from that it just rolled on and on."

Said Jays manager Cito Gaston: "Bullpen just couldn't get an out tonight."

The Rays even ended the game in style, with Longoria making a diving stop at third to start the ninth and Carl Crawford a spectacular diving catch in left-center for the final out.

"That speaks volumes," Maddon said. "That's what I've been talking about, the whole group from Day 1; the focus has been outstanding, the effort has been outstanding. You talk about finishing games well, dominating late, whether it was relief pitching, offense and defense."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Rays 9

Jays 3

Tampa Bay Rays score seven in eighth to rally past Toronto Blue Jays 04/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.