ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Marco Estrada was sailing along through the first five innings. Then, he couldn’t get an out in the sixth.
Matt Duffy’s three-run double highlighted a five-run sixth and the last-place Tampa Bay Rays beat the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays for the second straight game, 7-5 on Saturday night.
“That inning got away in a hurry,” noted Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “Marco was rolling right along and then bam! They piled on right there.”
After getting just two hits against Estrada (8-7) in the first five innings, Duffy’s double was the fifth hit of the sixth and missed being a grand slam by less than two feet.
“I was locating pretty well, all my pitches,” Estrada said. “And that last inning, a bloop hit, I couldn’t make the play on a bunt, next thing you know it’s 5-1. I’m not really sure what happened. Just kind of got out of hand.”
Toronto’s lead in the division was trimmed to one-half game over Boston, which played at Oakland later Saturday night.
When he began the sixth inning, Estrada had given up only two runs in 22 1/3 career innings at Tropicana Field. Bobby Wilson, Logan Forsythe, Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria opened the inning with
consecutive singles. After a walk to Brad Miller brought in a second run, Duffy cleared the bases with his double and get Estrada out of the game.
“We’ve not had much success against Marco Estrada, but we got him enough tonight,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We put one big inning together … the big bases-loaded double looked like the hit of the night.”
Kiermaier had a two-run home run in the seventh off reliever Joe Biagini, the first major-league homer given up by Biagini.
Rookie Blake Snell (5-7) got the win after giving up one run and two hits while striking out seven in six innings.
Toronto rallied for four runs in the ninth off Enny Romero before Alex Colome got the final out for his 30th save.
Estrada gave up five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, striking out six in his first road loss since April 16 at Boston.
Edwin Encarnacion drove in Toronto’s first run with a single for his 108th RBI. Devin Travis drove in two runs in the ninth with a single.
BAD SPOT FOR BLUE JAYS
The Blue Jays will have to win their remaining four games against the Rays to win their season series for only the second time in the last 11 years. Toronto is 6-9 against Tampa Bay and 25-16 against the rest of the AL East this season, and 31-61 at Tropicana Field since 2006.
“This year, last year, the year before that. How far do you want to go back?” Gibbons said. “Historically they’ve always played us tough. Who knows why? I’ve often thought their pitching has always been really good. They always hold us in check for the most part. We’ve always had trouble with them.”
Blue Jays: RHP Gavin Floyd (strained right shoulder) hopes to throw off a mound soon. He started a throwing program three weeks ago.
Rays: RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will likely make his final minor league start Sunday for Double-A Montgomery. He is 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA over eight previous outings.
Blue Jays: J.A. Happ (17-4) will try to become only the second left-hander to win 18 games for the Blue Jays. David Wells won 20 in 2000.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (8-17), who leads the majors in losses and leads the AL with 202 strikeouts, has won three of his last five starts.
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