Toronto Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera makes a leaping catch at the wall to rob Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria of a hit during sixth inning MLB baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday

Jays pull off another sweep to push winning streak to nine

The Toronto Blue Jays have used their big bats to power their way to victories over their nine-game winning streak. On Wednesday night, they showed that stellar defence and a little small ball can get the job done too.

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have used their big bats to power their way to victories over their nine-game winning streak.

On Wednesday night, they showed that stellar defence and a little small ball can get the job done too.

With pinch-runner Kevin Pillar aboard after Dioner Navarro opened the bottom of the ninth with a single, Anthony Gose dropped down an excellent bunt along the first-base line. Reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo threw wide to first and Pillar came all the way around to score to give the Blue Jays a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay and their first walk-off win of the season.

“It’s not every day you’re going to come out and score 10 runs,” said Toronto infielder Steve Tolleson. “Sometimes you have to fight tooth and nail to win. The guys today really showed that and that’s why we pulled through.”

Toronto opened the series with a 10-5 win and followed with a 9-6 victory a night later.

On Wednesday, in what was likely the Blue Jays’ finest defensive effort of the year, Toronto stifled Tampa Bay all over the diamond.

After both teams scored a pair of early runs, Gose made an all-world catch against the centre-field wall in the third inning to keep the game tied.

In the sixth, Melky Cabrera offered a highlight-reel moment of his own with a great leaping grab against the wall in left field. Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., and Edwin Encarnacion got into the act too later in the frame.

James Loney hit a hard chopper that the Canadian sprawled to retrieve in shallow right field.

Encarnacion dived to snag the throw to first and managed to keep his foot on the bag for the out.

In the eighth, it was Toronto third baseman Juan Francisco’s turn.

He made a great diving snag off the bat of leadoff hitter David DeJesus and an inning later, Lawrie was at it again by barehanding a slow chopper on the fly and whipping it to first base in time.

“It was just one of those days that we just refused to lose,” Tolleson said.

On the winning play, Pillar broke for third when he saw the ball roll down the left-field line and third-base coach Luis Rivera made a gutsy decision to send him home with nobody out.

“I wanted to score,” Pillar said. “When I saw the ball go by, I mean Luis is aggressive over there. I mean worst-case scenario, Gose is probably standing at third base with one out. He made a good call there.”

The speedy Gose has been showing consistency with his bunting ability this season and it paid off.

“I got it down tonight,” he said. “I just tried to move the runner and good things happened.”

Toronto starter Liam Hendriks and Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer both gave up two earned runs over six innings. Blue Jays left-hander Rob Rasmussen came on for the seventh and Matt Joyce greeted him with a ground-rule double.

Toronto manager John Gibbons quickly went to the bullpen for Dustin McGowan, who gave up just one walk over two scoreless innings. Aaron Loup (2-1) worked the ninth as Toronto (32-22) completed the three-game sweep.

Encarnacion, who has tied a club record with 14 homers this month, drove in a pair of runs with a first-inning single. Jose Reyes opened the game with a single and moved to third on a single by Jose Bautista before Encarnacion cashed them in.

The Rays tied it in the second inning. Joyce doubled and scored when Wil Myers followed with a two-run shot, his fifth homer of the season.

Tampa Bay (23-31) entered the series on a four-game winning streak. The three straight losses have sent the Rays into the division basement.

“It’s been pretty much how the season has gone to this point, but we’re going to change it,” said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. “All these weird awkward breaks, we’re just not catching them.”

Toronto, meanwhile, has won 14 of its last 16 games and 19 of 24 overall. It’s the Blue Jays’ longest winning streak since an 11-gamer last June.

“I think that’s a pretty exciting win I think all around for the team,” Gose said. “Three straight sweeps and a sweep of another A.L. East opponent in the Rays, who we’ve had trouble with over the last couple years. It was a huge win.”

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month