Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 3
TORONTO (AP)—For the first time in almost a year, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays won consecutive road games.
The Devil Rays were a major league-worst 20-61 on the road in 2006, including 3-33 after July 1. Tampa Bay had not won back-to-back road games since June 16 and 17 last year at Philadelphia.
This year the Devil Rays are 10-15 away from home and have won two road series—they took two of three at Oakland from April 27-29.
“We’re at the point where we believe we can win every night,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We’re gaining that kind of an attitude where you expect to win when you go out there, regardless of the competition.”
Tampa Bay blew an 11-6 lead in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s series opener, losing 12-11. The Devil Rays rebounded to win 6-2 on Wednesday.
“Guys really have a nice feel going on in the dugout,” Maddon said. “There’s no quit.”
With the score 3-3, Carl Crawford hit a one-out single off Jeremy Accardo (1-1) and stole second. Carlos Pena was intentionally walked with one out, Ty Wigginton walked on a 3-2 pitch and Young followed with a single to center.
“It feels good to come up here and take two out of three,” Young said. “We’re going to play nine every day. We’re a little inconsistent right now but it’s still early. There’s good things to come.”
Accardo felt he got squeezed by plate umpire Kerwin Danley on the walk to Wigginton.
“Both of those pitches were pretty close,” Accardo said. “I know I got one of them called earlier in the at-bat. You’d think one of them, at least one of them, would be called. To be honest with you, I don’t know how he didn’t swing at them in the first place.”
Crawford finished 3-for-5 and scored twice, finishing the series 8-for-16 with seven RBIs.
“It seems like things have been going well for us lately,” Crawford said. “I just hope we can keep it up and try to stay in the groove.”
After four relievers combined to allow six runs Tuesday, Tampa Bay’s bullpen has worked seven scoreless innings over the past two games.
Pena called the bullpen’s recovery “outstanding.”
“It’s how you bounce back from difficult times that matters,” Pena said. “We had a tough game the first day but we played great baseball the last two. That shows a lot of heart.”
Burnett pitched seven innings and set his season high for strikeouts. He gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks—all in the third inning— throwing a season-high 130 pitches. He was pitching with five days’ rest after topping 100 pitches in each of his prior five starts.
“The curveball was good. I kept attacking,” Burnett said. “I’ve got to be in attack mode, and if I’m not in attack mode, there’s no need to be out there.”
Edwin Jackson remained winless in 11 starts this season, allowing three runs and four hits in six innings. He has received the lowest run support among Tampa Bay starters.
“I thought he changed speeds well, I thought he utilized all of his pitches,” Maddon said. “He showed poise throughout. It was a very nice outing for him. It’s a good one to build off.”
Brendan Harris homered leading off the third, and Wigginton made it 2-0 with an RBI single.
Adam Lind hit an RBI grounder in the fourth, but Tampa Bay made it 3-1 in the fifth when Crawford led off with a single and scored on Greg Norton’s double. Rios hit his 13th homer in the bottom half, a two-run drive that tied the score.
With runners at the corners and two outs in the eighth, B.J. Upton hit into a forceout against Accardo.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon dropped Elijah Dukes one spot to second in the order, hoping to help him break out of his slump. Dukes went 0-for-4 and is hitless in 21 at-bats. … Crawford started at DH and Norton started in left, his first appearance in the field this season.