TORONTO — Although they are riddled with injuries, the Toronto Blue Jays are refusing to roll over.
Rajai Davis drove in the winning run with a two-out drive in the 10th inning that bounced over the wall and the Blue Jays rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Saturday, extending Cliff Lee’s winless streak to 11 starts.
Despite losing three starting pitchers to injury in the past week, the Blue Jays won back-to-back games for the first time since June 5-6.
“Adversity makes you tighter and stronger, either makes you or breaks you,” Davis said. “This is a team of character and we have a lot of strength in our character.”
Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero, one of two healthy regulars left in the rotation, echoed Davis’ comments.
“We’ve got a bunch of tough guys on this team,” Romero said. “We just have to overcome, we can’t hang our heads over anything. We just have to continue to overcome and good things can happen. This is probably one of the tightest teams I’ve ever been a part of here in Toronto and we’ll continue to grind whether we win or we lose.”
Toronto’s Yunel Escobar hit a solo homer, finished with three hits and scored twice, including the winning run.
After the Blue Jays scored three times in the eighth to make it 5-all, Escobar drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Joe Savery (0-2). Escobar moved up on a balk, advanced to third on Mike McCoy’s groundout and scored when Davis squared up an 0-2 pitch and hit a drive that hopped over the left-centre field wall.
“It’s always nice when you help the team win in dramatic fashion, especially being down 0-2, odds against me,” Davis said.
By baseball’s official scoring rules, Davis was credited with a single, even though balls bouncing over walls most often are ground-rule doubles. Since Escobar only had to advance one base to score, Davis’ hit went as a single.
The Blue Jays’ late rally cost Lee his first win of the season. The Phillies’ ace matched a season-high by allowing five runs and gave up a season-high 12 hits in seven-plus innings.
“They’re a good offence,” Lee said. “They hit some good pitches.”
The Phillies, who have lost 11 of their last 14, fell to 1-8 in games decided in the final at bat. They also made a costly throwing error, the team’s 14th miscue in 10 games, allowing two runs to score in the eighth.
“That’s kind of how we play,” an exasperated Manuel said. “We find a way to lose the game.”
John Mayberry Jr. hit a three-run homer, but Philadelphia couldn’t hold on despite taking a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
“We could have had more wins but we don’t have them because we don’t play good baseball,” Manuel fumed. “Solidly, all around, we don’t play good baseball. We’ve seen that quite a bit.”
Philadelphia lost for the fifth time this season when leading after seven innings.
Lee has not won since a 4-2 win over Atlanta on Sept. 26, 2011, in his final start of the regular season. Lee then lost his only post-season start last year, a 5-4 defeat to St. Louis on Oct. 2.
“I can only control what I can control, I’m not going to get frustrated,” Lee said. “Obviously I would like to have more wins. I would like for us to win more, period.”
Francisco Cordero (2-4) pitched one inning for the victory.
The Phillies opened the scoring in the first on back-to-back doubles by Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence off Ricky Romero. Toronto tied it in the second on Escobar’s fourth homer.
Philadelphia reclaimed the lead with a two-out rally in the third. Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton hit consecutive singles and Mayberry followed with his fourth home run.
The Blue Jays cut it to 4-2 in the bottom half when Davis singled, stole second and scored on a two-out base hit by Colby Rasmus.
Philadelphia made it 5-2 with a run in the eighth off reliever Robert Coello.
Brian Schneider and Michael Martinez drew back-to-back walks and Jimmy Rollins followed with a ground-rule double to right, with Martinez forced to stop at third.
The Blue Jays scored twice and chased Lee before an out was recorded in the bottom half. Jose Bautista led off with a walk and advanced to third on Edwin Encarnacion’s single to left. The relay came to Rollins, whose ill-advised throw to second sailed into right field, allowing both runners to score.