Hellickson’s fielding costly as Jays beat Rays 6-3
TORONTO (AP) — Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson takes pride in fielding his position.
But a pair of plays the 2012 Gold Glove winner couldn’t convert cost him big time against the Blue Jays.
Adam Lind hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning, Edwin Encarnacion also went deep and Toronto beat the Rays 6-3 on Saturday.
Toronto erased a 2-0 deficit with a three-run third against Hellickson.
“That was an inning we can’t let get away from us defensively and we did,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s what got them back in the ballgame.”
Ryan Goins, who reached on a wild third strike to begin the inning, came around to score when Hellickson made an errant throw on a bunt by Jose Reyes. A second run scored when Jose Bautista singled off Hellickson’s glove.
“That was pretty embarrassing,” Hellickson said. “Those plays have got to be made.”
Hellickson allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in six innings, matching a season high with eight strikeouts. Hellickson also struck out eight in an Aug. 23 game at Toronto.
Evan Longoria tied it at 3 when he led off the sixth inning with his 21st home run, but Toronto reclaimed the lead against Brad Boxberger (5-2) in the seventh when Bautista walked and Lind homered for the first time since June 23, snapping a career-long 36-game drought.
“We put it the hands of a guy who’s been one of our best in Box,” Longoria said, “and he just made a mistake pitch and Lind capitalized.”
Encarnacion followed Lind’s blast by driving the first pitch he saw from Steve Geltz into the second deck in left, the eighth time this season the Blue Jays have hit back-to-back home runs.
R.A. Dickey (13-12) allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight decision as the Blue Jays improved to 8-3 in September. Toronto came in four games out in the AL wild-card race.
Blue Jays starters have worked six innings or more in 19 consecutive game. That matches the longest such streak in team history, first set from May 23 to June 12, 1998.
“The rotation is on some kind of roll,” manager John Gibbons said.
Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 23rd save in 28 chances as the Blue Jays won for the fifth time in seven meetings with the Rays.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Nauert for arguing after he struck out in the ninth.
A fan behind Tampa Bay’s dugout threw a pepper at Rays SS Yunel Escobar as he left the field. Escobar, who was reprimanded for writing a slur on his eye black while playing for Toronto in 2012, declined to comment. Police said they were attempting to identify the fan using video.
Two-time Gold Glove winner Longoria made a diving stop on Danny Valencia’s grounder down the third base line to begin the second and, from foul territory, made a one-hop throw from one knee to get the out at first. “I thought it was a double,” Maddon said. “It was past him when he made the play. Great play, great throw.”
DURHAM FACES DECIDER
Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, were a strike away from claiming their second straight Governor’s Cup title Friday night, but gave up a tying hit to Pawtucket’s Rusney Castillo, the recent $72 million signing by Boston. Durham, who lost 4-2 in 13 innings, hosts Pawtucket in the decisive Game 5 on Saturday night.
Rays right-hander Chris Archer (9-8) faces Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle (12-9) in Sunday’s series finale. Buehrle, who’s 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts against the Rays this season, was bumped up a day to face Tampa Bay, with rookie Marcus Stroman pushed back for extra rest. Archer will face Toronto for the sixth time in 2014.