Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 4, 11 innings
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Carl Crawford’s sore right wrist had been a big reason for him playing 42 games without hitting a home run. It didn’t stop him from going deep in his first at-bat in three days.
Crawford, who scored the tying run as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, led off the bottom of the 11th with a homer to give the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
“When he went up I said, ‘Listen, do whatever you can do,”’ Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “I mean I didn’t know what he was able to do today. Then he worked the count and took the hack and then boom. I mean that ball was crushed. He knew it was a homer the second he hit it. So I officially declare him well.”
Crawford, who was out of the starting lineup for three games because of the sprained wrist, hit a 3-2 pitch from Brian Wolfe (2-1) over the fence in center field as Tampa Bay won for the second time in 10 games.
“It surprised me,” Crawford said. “Really, I was just trying to get on base, and let the guys behind me do all the work. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. There’s probably not a better feeling than a walkoff. That’s the best feeling you’re going to get.”
Crawford’s last homer came on June 5 off Toronto ace Roy Halladay, a span of 175 at-bats. Four of his seven homers this season have been against the Blue Jays.
“I didn’t feel good because I didn’t get a chance to warm up my wrist,” Crawford said. “I didn’t know I’d be hitting today, so I didn’t have a chance to loosen it up. I took a hack and I missed it, and it kind of hurt a little bit. But there was nothing I could do about it, so I was just trying to get on base any way I could.”
“He’s the last guy you would want to see up there in that situation,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He can beat you in so many ways. That’s why he is one of the best in the league.”
Scott Dohmannn (1-0) worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the 11th for the win.
Both teams threatened in the 10th. The Blue Jays failed to score after getting a man on third with one out. Tampa Bay’s Brendan Harris was thrown out at the plate by shortstop John McDonald in the bottom half when he tried to score from second on Delmon Young’s infield single.
Toronto’s Dustin McGowan, looking to win his third consecutive start, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings.
Jonny Gomes and B.J. Upton homered for the Devil Rays. Tampa Bay rookie Andy Sonnanstine gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He is winless in his last nine starts, including seven losses.
Alex Rios had a run-scoring triple and Troy Glaus stopped an 0-for-13 skid with an RBI single to put the Blue Jays up 2-0 in the first inning. Tampa Bay has been outscored 80-35 in the first inning this season.
The Devil Rays pulled within 2-1 in the third when Ben Zobrist scored from third on McGowan’s wild pitch. The right-hander had not allowed a run in his previous 15 innings.
Toronto went ahead 3-1 on Vernon Wells’ fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
Gomes’ solo shot, that went an estimated 465 feet, made it 3-2 in the fifth.
Reed Johnson extended the Toronto lead to 4-2 on an RBI single in the seventh. Upton’s shot off Casey Jannsen in the eighth made it 4-3.
Gibbons was ejected in the eighth by third base umpire Tim Welke for arguing on a check-swing call.
Tampa Bay minor league RHP Jeff Niemann, taken fourth overall in the 2004 amateur draft, left his start at Triple-A Durham with right shoulder fatigue. The Devil Rays said Niemann will be undergo further examination, but the problem is not thought to be serious. … There was a large group of scouts at the game, including the Yankees, Mets, White Sox, Seattle, Texas, Cleveland, St. Louis, Arizona and Houston. Among the players who have drawn interest include Devil Rays closer Al Reyes and Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor.