TORONTO (AP)—Right from the first pitch, the Tampa Bay Rays had their power stroke going.
“We really lived by the long ball,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We didn’t have to do the speed game today.”
The Rays finished June with a team-record 41 homers and are the only squad in the major leagues with more than 100 homers (105) and 100 steals (121).
“Garza struggled a little bit with command,” Maddon said. “But overall, his stuff is so good he was able to fight through some moments.” Garza is 4-2 with a 0.60 ERA in his past six starts against the Blue Jays. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 0.91 ERA in four career starts in Toronto but was at a loss to explain his dominance against Toronto.
“I’d love to be this stingy in any ballpark also,” Garza said. “There’s no answer.”
“I was just looking for a pitch to hit, ready to hit right from the first pitch,” Upton said. “I got a pitch I liked and hit it out of the ballpark.”
Crawford put the Rays in front to stay in the third with a one-out homer, his eighth of the year.
“It was a slider down and in,” Crawford said. “He struck me out with it in the first inning and I was able to stay on it for the home run.”
Aybar made it 3-1 with a leadoff shot in the sixth, his seventh.
Richmond allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked five and struck out seven.
Toronto has scored just six runs in its past four games, all losses, the first time this season they’ve lost four straight at home. The Blue Jays are .138 (4 for 29) with runners in scoring position in that stretch, leaving manager Cito Gaston pondering changes to his batting order.
“Some of the guys are hitting but the guys that we need to drive in runs are not swinging the bats at all,” Gaston said. “We’ll think about doing something (Wednesday), trying to get guys in the right spots.”
The Blue Jays never mounted much of a threat in this one. Rolen grounded into a fielder’s choice with runners at first and second to end the third and Vernon Wells(notes) flied out to end the fifth, stranding runners at second and third.
Garza left after Aaron Hill’s(notes) leadoff walk in the seventh and Wells followed with a single against Chad Bradford(notes). Hill took third on Rolen’s fly out before Randy Choate(notes) came on and struck out Adam Lind(notes), then got Overbay to fly to left. Overbay is hitless in 13 at-bats and Wells is stuck in a 2 for 19 slump.
NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria(notes), who missed time with a tight left hamstring earlier this month, was held out of the starting lineup but pinch-hit in the eighth and flied out. … Blue Jays closer Scott Downs(notes), out since June 18 with a sore toe, threw off the bullpen mound and will try fielding drills in the coming days, Gaston said. Downs is eligible to come off the DL Friday when the Blue Jays open a three-game series at New York. … Toronto rookie LHP Brett Cecil(notes) made his first career relief appearance in the ninth.