Two-run homers by Navarro, Encarnacion lead Blue Jays to win over Rays

The Associated Press
September 3, 2014 09:12 PM

ampa Bay Rays left fielder Matt Joyce makes a running catch on a sacrifice fly by Toronto Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Blue Jays' Anthony Gose scored on the play.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rays had their long stretch of home success against Toronto end.

Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion each hit two-run homers and the Blue Jays rolled to their fourth straight win with a 7-4 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night.

Adam Lind had four straight hits and scored twice for the Jays, who have won a road series against the Rays for the first time in more than seven years.

"I wish it hadn't happened," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of the series loss. "They're good right now. They played better than we did the last two nights and they deserved to beat us. It's very simple."

By winning the first two games of the three-game series, the Blue Jays clinched their first road series victory against the Rays since April 6-8, 2007, breaking a string of 22 straight non-winning series. They had lost 17 consecutive road series against the Rays (including one in Orlando) before splitting a four-game series on May 6-9, 2013.

"For one series we were able to get the monkey off our back, Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Now we've got to get greedy and go out and win that one tomorrow, come up with a great series."

Navarro homered for the second straight night, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Encarnacion's 29th homer completed a three-run run fifth inning off Rays starter Chris Archer (8-8) that gave Toronto a 6-0 lead.

"My job is to get people out and I didn't do a good job of that," Archer said. "Didn't execute, period."

Archer gave up six runs on 10 hits in six innings.

Marcus Stroman (9-5) gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings, winning his second straight start. Aaron Sanchez pitched the ninth for his second save.

Evan Longoria drove in Tampa Bay's first run with a two-out single in the sixth, then hit his 18th home run off Dustin McGowan in the eighth. The Rays third baseman has 37 RBIs in 43 games since the All-Star break.

The game was held up for 30 minutes during the third inning due a lightning strike, knocking out a bank of lights.

Maddon thought lightning struck the ballpark.

"It was kind of a weird, buzzing sound that happened on that one hit," he said.


Blue Jays: Encarnacion was the DH for the second straight game due to minor back discomfort. ... RHP R.A. Dickey, Tuesday night's winning pitcher, was hit in the head by a line drive during batting practice. The Jays said he is not injured.

Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (bruised left knee) was out of the lineup for the sixth consecutive games and could miss a few more games. ... LHP Matt Moore, coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery in April, could play catch for the first time next week.


Tampa Bay has lost 12 of 18 since returning to .500 on August 15. The Rays had been 18 games under the break-even mark earlier in the season.


The Rays are 31-40 at home this season. In contrast, Tampa Bay has gone 36-33 on the road.


Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (10-11) and Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle (11-9) are the scheduled starters in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night. Odorizzi is coming off a 7-0 win over Boston Saturday in which he allowed one hit in seven innings.

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