Sonnanstine (5-1) allowed four runs and 10 hits, becoming the fastest five-game winner in Tampa Bay’s 11-year history. He walked one and struck out two.
“That’s typical Sonnanstine right there, a little bit of a bending but no breaking,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Andy really battled through that whole thing well.”
Sonnanstine is 4-0 against American League East opponents and has not lost since April 9 against Seattle. He has a 2.45 ERA in his past four starts.
The 25-year-old right-hander put runners on in every inning but the first, yet succeeded by continuing to use all his pitches, even when his command failed him.
“They were all erratic at different times but I stuck with the fastball, even though there were some fastballs that got hit pretty hard,” Sonnanstine said. “I was battling all night.”
Sonnanstine didn’t have the same faith in his pitches during his 2007 rookie season.
“A few starts last year, I definitely would have gone slider, slider, slider and fallen in love with it and probably would have got hurt real bad with it,” he said.
After beginning his major league career 1-8, Sonnanstine is 10-3 in his past 16 starts.
The Rays beat Toronto for the fifth straight time and got back in the win column after being swept in a three-game series at Boston over the weekend.
“It was tough in Boston for us,” Hinske said. “Losing three in a row, you don’t want to get to that fourth game and lose it. The first game of a series, it’s a big win for us, a huge win for us.”
Hinske, a rookie of the year with Toronto in 2002 before he was traded to Boston in 2006, crushed an A.J. Burnett (3-3) pitch off the windows of the centerfield restaurant in the sixth for his seventh homer.
“Off the bat I thought it was kind of a line drive and it just kept going,” Hinske said. “It’s always a good one when you hit the windows, for sure.”
Hinske has gone 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers and six RBIs against his former club this season.
“That doesn’t happen too often,” manager John Gibbons said. “That’s not a good situation. I wouldn’t expect to see either one of them for a few days.”
Marco Scutaro replaced McDonald, who appeared to roll over on his right ankle as he tried to come up with Gabe Gross’ grounder. McDonald fell to the ground in pain, clutching his lower leg, as his teammates rushed to his side.
“It was scary,” outfielder Vernon Wells said. “On turf, you never know what can happen.”
Burnett gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out 10, but failed to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
Toronto replied with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Eckstein and a sacrifice fly by Scott Rolen.
The Blue Jays tied it at 3-all in the fourth when Wells tripled and scored on Overbay’s sacrifice fly, but Iwamura doubled home a run on the fifth and Hinske homered in the sixth.
Toronto cut it to 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Wells led off with a single and scored when Overbay doubled off the top of the wall in center.
Carlos Pena went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. … OF Cliff Floyd (right knee) could rejoin the Rays as early as this weekend, manager Joe Maddon said. INF Ben Zobrist (left thumb) will have pins removed from his hand Monday and is expected back shortly afterward. … RHP Al Reyes (right shoulder) threw from flat ground Tuesday and will play catch in the outfield again Wednesday before he tries throwing from a mound.