TORONTO, ON – Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun and manager John Gibbons were both ejected during the eighth inning after Toby Hall doubled home two runs resulting in a close play at the plate, lifting the Devil Rays to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory Sunday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.
The Toronto Blue Jays are slowly erasing themselves from what was a close knit bunch atop the American League East division. On a day that would have seen Roy Halladay on the mound searching for his thirteenth win, Toronto sent out Pete Walker in hopes of splitting a series with the last place Devil Rays.
The Blue Jays would get off on the right foot against Seth McClung in the second inning when Shea Hillenbrand would be hit by a pitch, and with an out later, Gregg Zaun would drive a ball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run, giving his team an early 2-0 lead.
Pete Walker, who limited the D-Rays to two hits thru his first three innings of work, would get taken out of the yard in the fourth by Julio Lugo, a solo-shot, cutting the lead to 2-1.
McClung and Walker would keep their opposing teams off the board until the Blue Jays would begin to pull away in the seventh inning. Alex Rios would begin the frame with a single, followed by an Eric Hinske double, putting men on the corners. Orlando Hudson would then chop a grounder up the middle that was bobbled by Lugo allowing Rios to come home and score in front of Lugo’s wild throw, allowing Hinske to scamper home giving the Jays a 4-1 lead.
McClung would be finished after six innings of work, allowing four runs, three of them earned on six hits and striking out eight. His counterpart Pete Walker would give up only one run on six hits over six innings.
The Jays lead wouldn’t last long though as Tampa would run into some good fortune in the eighth inning when Lugo would lead things off with a walk, then advance to second on a passed ball before stealing third base. Aubrey Huff would ground out to Hudson for the second out of the inning, scoring Lugo from third. Miguel Batista, who would relieve Scott Schoeneweis with a man on first base, would give up a single to Johnny Gomes putting men on the corners. Toby Hall would then drive a Batista offering down the line in left field scoring Damon Hollins, then as the relay came from the outfield, Gomes would beat out Russ Adams’ throw to the plate tying the game.
An enraged Zaun, tossed his mask to the ground, and was immediately ejected from the game; prompting manager John Gibbons to take up the argument with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck, but would soon join Zaun in the clubhouse for the rest of the game, getting tossed himself.
The Devil Rays would complete the comeback in the top of the ninth, when they would get back-to-back doubles from Lugo and Jorge Cantu, taking the lead 5-4. The Jays would get a man as far as third base in the bottom of the ninth against Danys Baez, but Reed Johnson would fly out to left field, ending the game.
Chad Orvella (1-1), who came on in relief of McClung for the seventh, pitched two innings of shutout ball to record his first win of the season. Miguel Batista is hooked with the loss, dropping his record to (4-3). Baez recorded his sixteenth save of the year after shutting down Toronto in the ninth.
The Blue Jays will now entertain the Seattle Mariners in a three-game series beginning on Tuesday. Ted Lilly (7-9) will look to right the ship for his team, going up against Aaron Sele (6-9) for the Mariners.
The game on Tuesday can be seen on TSN starting at 7pm EST with radio coverage on The FAN 590am.
InsideTheDome’s Game Notes: As if the loss of Roy Halladay wasn’t enough, the Jays have been on the losing end of three bad calls from, each resulting in one-run losses…Third Baseman Corey Koskie will begin a one-week rehab assignment in Triple-A for the Syracuse SkyChiefs, before hopefully returning to the Jays…Vernon Wells had his eleven game hit streak halted, going 0-for-4 against the Devil Rays Sunday afternoon.