Coming into today’s game in Toronto the Rays had as many three run homers in the last three weeks as the east coast has had earthquakes, one. That changed in the seventh inning when B.J. Upton launched a three run blast into the second deck in left field. The home run put the Rays up 6-2 and they held on for a 6-5 win Saturday against the Blue Jays. It was the first three run shot for Tampa Bay since Robinson Chirinos hit one on August 3, also against Toronto.
Upton jumped on the first pitch from Toronto reliever Jesse Litsch after watching him walk two of the first four batters he faced. He had thrown 13 balls to just seven strikes in the inning and looked like he did not want to fall behind Upton. He made his mistake over the heart of the plate though and Upton pounced. It was a welcome sight for Rays’ fans as Upton had been struggling while also dealing with a shoulder injury suffered in the Detroit series. He was just 6-27 in his last 10 games including 0-15 in his last seven.
Jeff Niemann did not go seven innings, ending a streak of eleven games which a Rays starter did so. But he did pick up the win, allowing three runs in six and a third. He had six strikeouts and allowed just five hits and two walks. He has been outstanding since returning from the disabled list, going 8-1 with an ERA of 2.57 in 12 starts.
As Hurricane Irene bears down on the east coast and plays havoc with the MLB schedule in the northeast, the Rays can only win while the teams they’re chasing sit and wait. The Red Sox hoped to get in a doubleheader with the A’s ahead of the storm and the Yankees had a doubleheader postponed and will try to play in Baltimore tomorrow. The Rays just hope to keep posting wins and get as close as they can.