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Joyce, Rays jump out to big lead then hold on to down Jays

May 19, 2011 - 7:17 AM Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Matt Joyce hit a two-run homer and scored twice, as the Tampa Bay Rays scored six runs early and held on for a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a two-game set.

Elliot Johnson went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored for the Rays, who had lost three of four coming into Wednesday's game. Sam Fuld drove in a run.

"We put up runs early and couldn't seem to push any more across," said Johnson. "They just seemed to keep creeping up on us. But a win's a win. We'll take it."

Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) gave up four runs -- three earned -- on five hits over 5 2/3 innings to win his fourth straight start. He also struck out six and walked three.

Aaron Hill had two RBI and a run scored for the Blue Jays, who had a six-game winning streak snapped. Designated hitter Eric Thames went 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in his MLB debut.

Jesse Litsch (4-3) allowed six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits over five full frames to suffer the loss. He also walked three batters for Toronto, which committed five errors.

The Rays scored three times in the second due to multiple errors by Toronto. Joyce walked and B.J. Upton was hit by a pitch to start the frame, and they advanced a base on a groundout.

Johnson followed with a two-run single to right. Jose Bautista's throw from the outfield hit second base and went to Litsch, whose throw to second was way off the mark. Johnson ended up at third on the play and scored two batters later, when Fuld put down a bunt along the first base line.

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion recorded the third error of the inning with a high throw to first, and Johnson crossed the plate on the play for a 3-0 lead.

Tampa Bay added three more runs in the third. Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch and scored on Joyce's homer over the wall in right-center field. Upton followed with a single, moved to third on Litsch's bad pickoff throw, and crossed the plate two batters later on Johnson's sacrifice fly, making it a 6-0 game.

The Blue Jays finally got on the board in the fourth, when Corey Patterson tripled and Bautista walked to put men on the corners. Hill grounded into a fielder's choice to plate a run, but Hellickson retired the next two batters to keep it a 6-1 game.

In the fifth, Jayson Nix scored a run when he grounded into a double play to cut the gap to four.

Toronto tacked on two runs in the sixth to make the game interesting. Patterson doubled to right and crossed the plate on Hill's one-out double to left. J.P. Arencibia then walked to put men on first and second with two outs, and Thames hit an RBI single to center to make it a 6-4 contest.

"I was trying to keep my heart rate slowed down and take bad pitches," Thames said of his first major league hit. "It was good to get my first one out of the way and I was glad to get it in a timely situation."

Juan Cruz was called in from the bullpen to get the final out of the inning.

Kyle Farnsworth came on in the ninth for Tampa Bay to close the contest. Rajai Davis led off with a double, stole third and crossed the plate on Yunel Escobar's groundout to make it 6-5. But Farnsworth struck out Patterson for his ninth save of the year.

Game Notes

Tampa Bay has won five of seven against the Blue Jays this season...Toronto was shooting for its first seven-game winning streak since ripping off 10 in a row from August 30-September 9, 2008...The Rays started an eight-game road trip on Wednesday, while the Blue Jays got a five-game homestand underway...Tampa Bay stranded 10, while Toronto left six men on base.








  • TAMPA BAY: 6
    TORONTO: 5
    Final

    May 18 10:26 PM


  • Yunel Escobar grounded out short to first scored Rajai Davis.. None on with two outs and Corey Patterson due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 5  Bot 9, 2 OutsMay 18 10:24 PM
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    Rays 6, Blue Jays 5  Bot 9, 2 OutsMay 18 10:24 PM


  • Eric Thames single to center scored Aaron Hill. On the play, J.P. Arencibia advances to second. Runners on first and second with two outs and Rajai Davis due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 4  Bot 6, 2 OutsMay 18 9:12 PM


  • Aaron Hill doubled to left scored Corey Patterson.. Runner on second with one out and Edwin Encarnacion due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 3  Bot 6, 1 OutMay 18 9:07 PM


  • Jayson Nix grounded into a double play, short to first scored Eric Thames. Rajai Davis out at second. None on with two outs and Yunel Escobar due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 2  Bot 5, 2 OutsMay 18 8:51 PM


  • Aaron Hill grounded into a fielder's choice, third to second scored Corey Patterson. Jose Bautista out at second. Runner on first with one out and Edwin Encarnacion due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 1  Bot 4, 1 OutMay 18 8:33 PM


  • Elliot Johnson sacrifice fly out to right scored B.J. Upton.. Runner on second with one out and John Jaso due up.

    Rays 6, Blue Jays 0  Top 3, 1 OutMay 18 8:02 PM


  • Matt Joyce none-out, two-run Home Run (7) to right center scored Evan Longoria. B.J. Upton due up.

    Rays 5, Blue Jays 0  Top 3, 0 OutsMay 18 7:55 PM


  • Sam Fuld sacrificed bunt, reached first on Edwin Encarnacion's throwing error scored Elliot Johnson. On the play, John Jaso advances to second. Runners on first and second with one out and Ben Zobrist due up.

    Rays 3, Blue Jays 0  Top 2, 1 OutMay 18 7:42 PM


  • Elliot Johnson singled to right scored Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton, advances to third on Jose Bautista's and Jesse Litsch's throwing errors. Runner on third with one out and John Jaso due up.

    Rays 2, Blue Jays 0  Top 2, 1 OutMay 18 7:38 PM
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    Rays 0, Blue Jays 0  Mid 1May 18 7:19 PM


  • TAMPA BAY: 0
    TORONTO: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    May 18 7:09 PM
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    Rays vs. Blue JaysMar 31 2:29 PM