Home runs by Lind, Stairs carry Blue Jays to 5-4 victory over Devil Rays
TORONTO (AP)—With his latest strong start, Dustin McGowan drew comparisons to a Cy Young award-winning teammate.
The Blue Jays have won four of five. Tampa Bay has lost eight of 10.
McGowan (12-10) beat Tampa Bay for the second time this month, drawing praise from Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon.
“That guy is good,” Maddon said. “That guy is really good. “He’s the clone of (Roy Halladay). For years to come, that’s a nice combination they’ve got working out there.”
McGowan, who gave up four runs—three earned—in six-plus innings, said he’ll spend the winter working on his endurance.
“I want to be one of those 200-inning guys,” said McGowan, a third-year right-hander. “Towards the end of the season I felt pretty worn down so that’s my goal, to get bigger and stronger.”
Catcher Gregg Zaun said McGowan’s composure has been the biggest key to his success.
“When things start to go wrong for him, he doesn’t start to panic or lose it completely,” Zaun said. “He’s able to make some pitches and get out of innings, limit the damage.
“We’ve always known he’s had tremendous stuff,” Zaun added. “We were just waiting for him to mature a bit a get comfortable in his own skin.”
Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Alex Rios led off with a double and Frank Thomas singled off the glove of Andy Sonnanstine (6-10). Sonnanstine scrambled after the ball, but his throw sailed over the head Pena at first.
Velandia and Pena hit consecutive home runs in the fifth for a 3-1 lead. It was the ninth time this season that Tampa Bay has hit back-to-back homers.
Matt Stairs hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Toronto reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Thomas and Aaron Hill doubled. Lefty Jon Switzer relieved to face the left-handed hitting Lind, who homered on the first pitch.
“I felt good about Switz coming in there,” Maddon said. “I liked him on Lind, then Zaun, and then I was going to bring in (Scott) Dohmann on (Hector) Luna. It was all right there for us but they foiled it.”
Switzer said Lind connected on a hanging slider.
“It was just a bad pitch,” Swizter said. “He got it and did what you’re supposed to do.”
Sonnanstine lost for the first time in eight starts, allowing four runs and six hits in five-plus innings. He struck out four, hit two batters and his lone walk was intentional.
“The thing with me this year is the first time through the lineup I’m cruising,” Sonnanstine said. “The next time through I need to mix it up or do something different because that’s really where I’m getting hurt.”
Hill extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. … Pena had two hits and a walk.