Rays 7 Blue Jays 3
TORONTO — Brett Cecil couldn’t keep his pitches down, and Carlos Pena made him pay.
Pena hit a pair of two-run homers of Toronto’s rookie left-hander as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Blue Jays 7-3 on Tuesday.
The Blue Jays wasted Aaron Hill’s 30th home run of the season and Travis Snider’s sixth against James Shields (8-10) who won for the second time in his past seven decisions.
Pena’s homers gave him 37 on the season, tops in the American League. The slugger has more homers this season than singles (35).
His second homer Tuesday was the 200th home run of his career, a milestone he seemed very pleased with.
“Maybe it’s not 500 (homers) but to me it’s 500,” Pena said. “Maybe to the rest of the world it’s not 500 but to me, it feels just like it.”
Pena’s two-run home run against Roy Halladay broke a tie on Monday night as the Rays continued their domination of the Blue Jays.
After winning the first two games of the three-game series the 2008 AL pennant winners have won 11 of 14 meetings with the Blue Jays this year.
Cecil (5-3) allowed six runs, five earned, in 3 1/3 innings while Shields (8-10) allowed eight hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said Cecil gets into trouble when his pitchers get up in the strike zone and become tantalizing targets for heavy hitters like Pena.
“Up in the strike zone, he stayed up most of the time,” Gaston said.
“When he’s down he pitches pretty good. His fastball sinks and runs a little bit, his changeup is good down. Looks like he’s getting his body out I front of his arm and he’s dragging his arm through.”
After Pena’s home run in the second put the Rays ahead 2-1, Cecil said Gaston reminded him to keep the ball down the next time Pena came up in the third.
He didn’t, and Pena’s homer made the score 6-1.