Game 33: Evan Longoria, Kelly Johnson Help Power Rays Past Blue Jays 10-4


After losing the past two games in a particularly gut wrenching manner, the Rays needed a big win to get themselves back on the winning path. With Matt Moore set to go against the struggling Ricky Romero, the stage appeared set for a nice bounceback game.

However, early on, it did not appear promising. Moore struggled from the beginning, giving up a two out, two run home run to Edwin Encarnacion just over the glove of a leaping Desmond Jennings to center, spotting the Toronto Blue Jays an early 2-0 lead. Moore gave up back to back singles thereafter, but managed to escape without any further damage.

The Rays came back quickly against a thoroughly ineffective Romero. They loaded the bases on a walk, a single and another walk to start the game, before the carousel began moving. Evan Longoria and James Loney each singled, driving in a run to tie the game at 2-2. After a line out, Luke Scott singled to give the Rays a 3-2 lead, keeping the bases loaded with one out. That signaled the end of the night for Romero, as Edgar Gonzalez was brought in to try to keep the game from getting out of hand. Gonzalez managed to keep the Rays from scoring any further runs, and it appeared as though Tampa had squandered a precious opportunity to seize control of the game. Romero was truly awful, as he gave up three runs on four hits and two walks while recording only one out.

After Longoria drove in another run in the second, the Rays started the break the game open in the fourth. With two outs, Ben Zobrist walked, giving Longoria a chance to extend the inning. He did more than that, hammering a home run down the left field line to put the Rays on top 6-2. Meanwhile, even though Moore was struggling, he managed to keep the Blue Jays off the board despite finding himself in several jams. Overall, Moore gave up the two runs on six hits and four walks as he struggled with his control, striking out only two batters. Hopefully, this is just a case of Moore just not having his best stuff, and he pitches the way he has most of the season in his next start.

Tampa truly broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Gonzalez was still in the game, and appeared to be tiring. After a leadoff single by Jennings, Kelly Johnson crushed a ball over the right field fence for a two run home run, giving the Rays an 8-2 lead. Gonzalez was pulled after the home run, and even though his final line may not be pretty since he gave up five runs on six hits and two walks, but he lasted 4.2 innings and helped to preserve the Blue Jays bullpen. Esmil Rogers came in, and the Rays continued to pour on the runs. With one out, Loney drove a ball into the gap for an RBI double, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Luke Scott.

Sloppy play helped the Blue Jays in the top of the seventh. After the first two batters of the inning reached against Jamey Wright, Jose Lobaton had a passed ball that he had deflect off his glove, moving the runners to second and third. Encarnacion drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and a fielder’s choice had runners on first and second with two out. Mark DeRosa singled to center, and it appeared as though the Rays may be able to get out of the inning as J.P. Arencibia strayed rounding third. However, Lobaton had the throw deflect off him back to the mound, allowing the run to score. Cesar Ramos entered the game, and worked out of the jam while recording the final seven outs to preserve the 10-4 victory.

Johnson and Longoria had almost identical lines, as both went 3-4 with a double, a home run and a walk. Johnson scored three runs and drove in two, while Longoria drove in three and scored a run.