Toronto 7 Tampa Bay 3
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have been waiting for some offence from some of their big hitters in the lineup.
They got it Tuesday night as Adam Lind and Jose Bautista combined for RBIs in Toronto’s 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Lind, who entered the game batting .222, hit a two-run home run and drove in three runs and Bautista, who entered the game batting .206, hit a solo homer and drove in two runs.
Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C. also hit a homer leading off the eighth inning as the Blue Jays won their second game in a row in the opener of a three-game series.
“A number of good things offensively tonight, particularly from Jose and Adam,” Jays manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see Jose, as we thought over the weekend, start to gain some consistent timing and that was certainly the case tonight.”
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who has won two Gold Gloves, committed a career-high three errors in the game, including two on the first two batters of Toronto’s three-run third.
The Rays (5-6) entered the game with three errors as a team in their first 10 games of the season. Longoria equalled the club record for errors in a game.
“It was a bad day,” Longoria said. “I was just trying to make the aggressive play. Tonight it just didn’t happen to work out three times.”
Ricky Romero (2-0) got the win after allowing three runs on eight hits, including a homer by Matt Joyce to lead off the seventh, in six innings to pick up his second consecutive victory.
“Ricky battled himself but he made a big pitch in a couple of big situations, got a couple of key double plays,” Farrell said.
Jeff Niemann (0-2) allowed five runs, two earned, in five innings. He held the Blue Jays to three hits, including two home runs, and walked three while striking out five.
“I think the offence has been fine, we’ve had some tough breaks but I think our offence has done a good job this season,” Lind said.
The Blue Jays (6-4) took the lead when Bautista hit his second homer of the season with two out in the first. His previous home run was opening day, April 5, in Cleveland.
Romero allowed base runners in each of the first innings but escaped by facing the minimum number of batters.
“I was a little out of sync today and fighting myself more than anything,” Romero said. “I had some walks that got me in trouble but happy we came out with the win.”
Longoria, usually a superb fielder, was charged with errors on consecutive batters in the third to set up the second run of the game.
Longoria erred on Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia’s hard grounder to lead off the inning and then flubbed Yunel Escobar’s grounder. Kelly Johnson forced Escobar at second to leave runners at the corners.
“I thought J.P.’s was a hit,” Longoria said. “It should have been a hit but regardless of that the other two I was just being aggressive and it didn’t work out.”
Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to left and Lind followed with his first homer of the season to put the Blue Jays into a 4-0 lead.
“When it’s going good it’s not a forced thing, it just happens with good swings, that’s the key,” Lind said. “In order to do that you have to have good swings and so far this season I think I’ve had good swings.”
Lind also singled in a run in the seventh inning.
The Rays cut the lead in half in the fifth. Joyce singled with one out, Sean Rodriguez walked and Reid Brignac singled home Joyce.
Brignac took second on an error charged to Lawrie on a pickoff attempt by Arencibia. Chris Gimenez drove in the second run of the game with an infield single into the hole at shortstop.
Niemann left after walking Bautista to lead off the sixth. J.P. Howell faced one batter, walking Lind.
Longoria’s third error came in the sixth on Eric Thames’ infield hit against reliever Brandon Gomes. It was a difficult throw to make as he charged the spinning ball but it eluded Carlos Pena who tried to stretch for it while holding his foot on first base. Bautista scored and Thames went to second on the error.
“It’s surprising but crazy things happen in baseball,” Niemann said. “He’s been amazing over there and he’s going to be amazing, The first ball was hit really hard, it was just one of those things.”
Joyce led off the seventh with a home run. Romero then followed that by walking Rodriguez, and Jays reliever Jason Frasor took over to finish the inning.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 15,331. … Toronto’s Joel Carreno, Drew Hutchison, Jesse Chavez, Aaron Laffey and Brett Cecil are among the candidates being considered for Saturday’s start in Kansas City. Because of days off in the schedule, Toronto has needed a fifth starter only once so far this season. … LHP David Price (1-1, 4.82 earned-run average) will faced Toronto RHP Brandon Morrow (0-0, 2.57 ERA) in the second game of the series on Tuesday. In 12 career starts against Toronto, Price is 9-2 with a 2.06 ERA.