ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Drew Hutchison made a successful return to the mound.
Hutchison won his first start in almost two years, Adam Lind homered, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Hutchison (1-0) allowed three hits, three walks and struck out four over 5 1/3 shutout innings in his first big league game since June 15, 2012. The right-hander had elbow ligament replacement surgery in August 2012.
“I wasn’t sharp early at all, kind of grinded through that one,” Hutchison said. “I think coming out of spring training I was just ready to go, so it was a good start. I’m glad we got the win and I’m ready to get going.”
Lind put the Blue Jays up 3-0 on a three-run homer in the first off Alex Cobb (0-1). He sent a 3-1 pitch over the centre-field fence.
Cobb gave up four runs, five hits and four walks and had three strikeouts in five innings.
“Pretty much the whole game, fastball command was non-existent,” Cobb said. “I was able to get by for a few innings, but it’s definitely going to make your pitch count go way through the roof, and knock you out of the game early.”
Toronto manager John Gibbons challenged a call by first base umpire Jim Wolf in the ninth when Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera was called out at first for the third out. Third baseman Evan Longoria dove to catch Cabrera’s grounder and then threw him out. After an 80-second delay, the call was confirmed.
“It takes away the intensity of the game a little bit, but you know, take advantage of it,” Gibbons said. “Hopefully, it works in our favour a few times.”
It was the first challenge involving the Blue Jays and Rays.
“I thought the umpires, again, did a wonderful job,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
The umpires also used a video review to confirm that a ball with home-run distance down the right-field line in the seventh by Toronto’s Colby Rasmus was foul. The game was delayed 3:34 while the review took place.
Jonathan Diaz, filling in for injured shortstop Jose Reyes, made it 4-0 on his first major league hit, an RBI single during the fourth.
Diaz, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Buffalo Monday, played in five games last season with Boston, going hitless in four at-bats.
Aaron Loup replaced Hutchison with two on and one out in the sixth, and worked out of the jam by retiring Ben Zobrist and Longoria. Loup retired all five batters he faced.
Wil Myers cut the Rays’ deficit to 4-1 with an RBI double off Steve Delabar in the eighth. Desmond Jennings hit a ninth-inning run-scoring double off Sergio Santos, who completed his first save of the season by striking out Yunel Escobar with runners on second and third with two outs.
“It was one of those typical Tropicana (Field) games … until you get that final out, you don’t feel good,” Gibbons said.
Hutchison got out of trouble in the second after James Loney and Jennings drew one-out walks by getting a double-play grounder from Logan Forsythe.
Reyes hopes to return in a couple weeks from a hamstring injury, which occurred while running the bases in his first at-bat of the season Monday.
An MRI exam Tuesday showed Reyes, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list, has mild inflammation of the hamstring.