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Morrow, Blue Jays damage Tampa Bay's playoff chances

Sep 24, 2011 - 6:09 AM St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Brandon Morrow hurled seven scoreless innings, and the Toronto Blue Jays dealt Tampa Bay's flagging playoff hopes a damaging blow with a 5-1 win in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay trails Boston by 2 1/2 games in the race for the AL wild card with only five games remaining. The Red Sox were slated to begin a three-game set in the Bronx, but inclement weather postponed Friday's contest against the Yankees. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday.

Morrow (11-11) allowed two hits, walked four and struck out nine.

Kelly Johnson clubbed a solo home run and added an RBI single for Toronto, which has won six of its last nine games.

David Price (12-13) gave up five runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks in six full frames to absorb the loss for the Rays, who have dropped four of five.

Toronto capitalized on a pair of miscues by Price in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. It could have been more if not for a blunder on the basepaths by Jose Bautista.

With the bases loaded and one out, Price moved towards first base to field a chopper off the bat of Eric Thames. The lefty hastily threw home on the run and the ball sailed over catcher Kelly Shoppach's head, allowing J.P. Arencibia and David Cooper to score. Price made a previous error when attempting to record an out at second base after Arencibia singled. Mike McCoy followed the first gaffe with another base hit.

After Price intentionally walked Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion popped out to second, Johnson hit a blooper to center field that fell in. Tampa Bay caught a break when Bautista was tagged out after wandering too far around second. The Rays recorded the final out before Thames crossed the plate.

"David had great stuff tonight," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. "Not just good stuff, he had great stuff tonight, and those two plays pretty much undid us."

The Blue Jays wound up getting their fourth run two frames later as Thames singled home McCoy, who drew a one-out walk and pilfered second. Toronto added another run when Johnson led off the sixth by crushing a hanging curveball over the right-field wall.

Matt Joyce spoiled Toronto's shutout bid with a two-out, RBI single off Luis Perez in the ninth.

Game Notes

Price suffered just his second loss (9-2) in 12 career starts against the Blue Jays...Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton was ejected by second base umpire Ed Hickox in the eighth inning after being thrown out attempting to steal...Joyce had two of the Rays' three hits.






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    Blue Jays 5, Rays 1  FinalNov 7 1:43 PM


  • TORONTO: 5
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  • Matt Joyce singled to center scored Johnny Damon. Runner on first with two outs and Sean Rodriguez due up.

    Blue Jays 5, Rays 1  Bot 9, 2 OutsSep 23 10:03 PM


  • Colby Rasmus fouled out to third. None on with two outs and J.P. Arencibia due up.

    Blue Jays 5, Rays 0  Top 6, 2 OutsSep 23 8:52 PM
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    Blue Jays 4, Rays 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 23 8:44 PM


  • Eric Thames singled to center scored Mike McCoy. Runner on first with one out and Jose Bautista due up.

    Blue Jays 4, Rays 0  Top 5, 1 OutSep 23 8:37 PM
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    Blue Jays 3, Rays 0  Mid 4Sep 23 8:23 PM


  • Kelly Johnson singled to center scored Mike McCoy. On the play, Jose Bautista out at second, center to second to end the inning.

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    Blue Jays 2, Rays 0  Top 3, 2 OutsSep 23 8:06 PM


  • Eric Thames reached second on a fielder's choice to pitcher. On the play, David Price's throwing error on a force attempt scored J.P. Arencibia and David Cooper. Mike McCoy advances to third. Runners on second and third with one out and Jose Bautista due up.

    Blue Jays 2, Rays 0  Top 3, 1 OutSep 23 8:05 PM


  • TORONTO: 0
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