Rays 5 Blue Jays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Gregg Zaun’s new teammates were well aware of his knack for hitting grand slams. After all, he had a game-winner against the Rays last season.
He gave them another one to talk about Sunday.
Pinch hitting with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Zaun connected off Brandon League to help give Tampa Bay a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was Zaun’s fifth career grand slam and first since Sept. 6 while with Toronto. The homer came against the Rays, a game-winning drive off Troy Percival in the 13th inning.
“The funny thing is we were talking about it,” Zaun said. “I don’t know who said it, but somebody said ‘Do that stuff for us.’ I said, ‘All right, I’ll do my best.’ Sure enough, today.”
Ben Zobrist had a one-out single off League (1-5) and went to third on Carlos Pena’s double. After Willy Aybar was intentionally walked to load the bases and pinch-hitter Gabe Gross struck out during a 10-pitch at-bat, Zaun sent a 3-2 pitch into the right field seats.
Tampa Bay obtained Zaun in a trade with Baltimore on Aug. 7.
“I just kind of went with my gut feeling, which was a heater with Zaun,” League said. “I just left it in the middle of the zone and he did what he did with it.”
League hit the next batter, B.J. Upton, on the first pitch, which prompted plate umpire Jim Joyce to warn both benches.
After talking with Joyce, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston replaced League with Casey Janssen.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Upton was not hit on purpose.
“Jimmy (Joyce) had to do it because a grand slam had just been hit. Based on that, and the way baseball world works today,” Maddon said. “By no means was that intentional.”