Blue Jays 3 Rays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Adam Lind homered during a four-hit night, and most of the talk after the game was about his role in a controversial play in the field.
Lind backed Brandon Morrow with a two-run shot in the first inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Wednesday.
Lind went 4-for-4 and is batting .438 with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 12 games. But he also was right in the middle of a play at first base that led to one of three ejections — two in the bottom of the seventh alone.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell was thrown out by plate umpire Chad Fairchild during a pitching change when he removed Morrow.
Farrell’s counterpart, Joe Maddon, was tossed by Joe West after the umpires got together and reversed West’s safe call on a tag play by Lind on Sam Fuld, completing an inning-ending double play. Lind was pulled off the bag by Edwin Encarnacion’s throw after the third baseman recorded a forceout.
West said he had the worst angle on the play, and consulted the other crew members, including second base umpire Angel Hernandez. West didn’t see Lind make the tag, but Hernandez said the first baseman did.
“All I asked Angel was did he tag him, and Angel told me I thought you had him safe for being on the bag,” West said. “I didn’t heed that warning. Angel also had the guy on the bag. I made the judgment based on what I had at first base. So it appears that we may have erred, but we did everything protocol right by the book. I don’t know what else we could have done.”
Lind said there is no question he tagged Fuld, but wasn’t sure if the Rays left-fielder had reached the bag first.
“He might have been on the base. I was arguing the fact that I tagged him,” Lind said. “Joe said I didn’t (tag him).”
Maddon took issue with the call being changed in that fashion.
“I have a hard time with that call being changed from that distance,” Maddon said. “If there’s any particular play that screams for instant replay, it’s that one. I just don’t understand how you can make that call from that distance. I don’t believe you can see it properly. If you’re going to start changing calls from that distance, include instant replay. Then I wouldn’t say a word.”
Farrell said he was not argumentative when he inquired about the location of a two-strike pitch called a ball during an at-bat that ended with John Jaso — Morrow’s last batter of the game — getting a single.
“He said ’Are you arguing balls and strikes?”’ Farrell said. “I said ’No.’ I thought there was a differing opinion based on the reactions (of the pitcher and catcher). At that point he said ’You’re gone.’ It caught me by surprise.”
Morrow (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked four. Frank Francisco yielded Fuld’s RBI single in the ninth before finishing for his first save.
Tampa Bay centre-fielder B.J. Upton was ejected by Fairchild after striking out for the fourth time leading off the ninth. Upton slammed his bat and helmet to the ground, and had to be restrained by third base coach Tom Foley. Upton also threw several other items, including his arm guards, toward the plate area while heading toward the dugout.
“I just kind of lost it,” Upton said. “Obviously, you could tell I didn’t like the call. It is what it is. It’s done with now.”
Tampa Bay starter Jeff Niemann (1-4) left after four innings with back tightness. The right-hander gave up three runs and six hits during a 62-pitch outing.
Since returning from a strained right shoulder last August, Niemann has allowed 56 earned runs over 63 2-3 innings in 13 starts.
The Blue Jays could get slugger Jose Bautista and second baseman Aaron Hill back Sunday.
Bautista rested for the second consecutive game because of neck spasms, but may be ready to swing a bat on Friday. Hill, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, played in an extended spring training game Wednesday.
David Cooper doubled in a run in the fourth for Toronto, but Matt Joyce cut the deficit to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. He has seven RBIs in his past six games.
Upton struck out in all three at-bats against Morrow. He has one hit in 13 at-bats — including nine strikeouts — overall against the Blue Jays starter.
Upton hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning of the Rays’ 3-2 win over Toronto on Tuesday night.
Fuld’s two-out single in the ninth got the Rays within one, but Francisco got Ben Zobrist to ground out with runners on the corners to end the game.
NOTES: The Rays will wear Navy SEAL Team 6 T-shirts as the theme for a road trip that starts Friday. The team wants to honour the naval unit that killed Osama bin Laden. “Tribute to their teamwork that enabled them to carry out their mission,” Maddon said. “It’s really picked everybody up. Everybody’s got that good feeling about themselves right now.” … Blue Jays LHP Ricky Romero was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday due to a mild left oblique strain. He could pitch on Saturday.