Evan Longoria extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games as the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night.
The Rays are known for their defense, and Kelly Johnson reminded everyone of this in the first inning as he threw the ball from deep left field to second baseman Ben Zobrist to get out Edwin Encarnacion. Longoria started the Rays’ offensive action as he scored their first run of the night, followed by Johnson’s solo shot to center field off of Toronto pitcher Ramon Ortiz during the second inning. Also during the inning, center fielder Desmond Jennings made a remarkable catch facing the wall in center field to get out Adam Lind. Jennings went on to keep the Rays’ action alive at the plate as hit a leadoff home run in the third inning.
Toronto answered to the Rays’ two homers as Colby Rasmus hit a long ball to right field off of Alex Cobb in the fifth inning. Unfortunately for Cobb, he struggled in the next inning while giving up a single and a walk. Shortstop Yunel Escobar was able to help Cobb escape the inning with a diving catch from behind second base and made the throw to first base to get the final out.
At the beginning of the seventh inning, right fielder Matt Joyce left the game with right hamstring soreness, and Ryan Roberts entered the game for Joyce at second base and Zobrist moved to right field. Alex Cobb left the game after pitching 6.1 innings and only throwing two strikeouts. Although Cobb has had stronger games in the past, he was able to force groundballs several times to get outs and deliver another fine performance for the Rays, extending his record to 5-2.
It turned out to be a scary eighth inning for Rays reliever Joel Peralta, as Toronto was able to load the bases after Adam Lind reached first base on a throwing error by Roberts. The Rays brought in Fernando Rodney after the play to relieve Peralta, and Roberts quickly redeemed himself with a sharp double play to get the inning’s final out. However, Rodney faced his own problems in the ninth as Rasmus scored again for Toronto after Rodney’s wild pitch to Munenori Kawasaki.
Kelly Johnson continued to impress fans as he went 1-for-3 with 1 RBI in Tuesday night’s game. Although Johnson is not an everyday player, he leads the American League in outfield assists with 5.
Overall, the Rays’ pitching staff was low on strikeouts Tuesday night, with only 6 K’s, while Toronto’s pitchers were held at 5 strikeouts. Once again, the Rays’ defense proved to be the biggest weapon in their arsenal as they pulled out the win with the help of several dazzling plays defensively.