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Bautista's bat brings Blue Jays extra-inning win

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista took the game into his own hands with four runs batted in on Wednesday as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in 10 innings.

He twice tied the game with solo home runs, in the fourth and ninth innings, and then delivered the game-winning single to right field in the 10th inning on a 0-2 pitch with two outs. He also singled in a run in the first inning.

"When the game's on the line obviously you want to be up," Bautista said. "I get a little more excited for those. Obviously it means a lot more than coming up in an eight-run game in the seventh inning with no one on."

The Blue Jays' first walk-off win this season before a crowd of 18,771 at Rogers Centre came in the rubber match of a three-game series.

The Blue Jays (19-27) won a series against the Rays (24-22) for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 2010, a total of 15 series.

"It was a huge moment," Bautista said. "It was pretty important to us, a division game against a team that we haven't won a series against in a long time."

Bautista led off the bottom of the ninth with his 11th homer of the season against closer Fernando Rodney, who has blown four of 13 save opportunities. The Rays had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth on James Loney's single against Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen.

"He's really one of the elite players in the game, one of the top hitters," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He carried us today offensively. They took the lead and we bounced back. It was our first walk-off win. It couldn't have come at a better time."

Left-hander Aaron Loup (2-3) pitched the 10th to pick up the win.

Colby Rasmus started the home 10th against left-hander Cesar Ramos (1-1) with an infield hit on a squib in front of the plate.

Rasmus took second on Emilio Bonifacio's sacrifice and third on Munenori Kawasaki's groundout. Pinch hitter Mark DeRosa walked.

Right-hander Kyle Farnsworth came in to face Bautista, who singled to right on a 0-2 count.

"They had been throwing me in most of the game," Bautista said. "And I figured since I was successful they would be staying away from that. The two previous pitches were outside. I just wanted to put the ball in play, let it travel a little bit and if I got jammed, I had that hole over there. It worked out."

Bautista said he thought the pitch might have been a ball.

The Rays have blown a total of 28 leads this season. It was 18 a year ago after 46 games. They have lost nine leads in the seventh inning or later and are 2-7 in those games.

"Been kind of difficult," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That was another one that got away. Really, everybody's been doing their best. They're trying and it's just not working out. Bautista had himself a pretty good game today. He hit a 97-mile-an-hour fastball. The problem was location, more than anything. We're going to keep plugging through it. It's going to come back to us. Everybody is healthy and I will not lose my optimism."

Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson allowed four hits, including Bautista's first home run, and two runs in eight innings in what was probably his best start of the season.

"It was up there," Hellickson said. "Even this last month I've felt like I've thrown pretty well, just had some bad luck in the last inning I've been out there. Tonight my fastball command was probably the best it's been. I think if I can command that, everything else is a little bit better."

Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle allowed four hits, two walks and two runs while striking out six in seven innings.

With one out in the ninth, Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games with a double to right. Loney followed by bouncing a single up the middle to put the Rays into a 3-2 lead.

Anthony Gose, who started for the first time since being called up from Class AAA Buffalo, led off the first inning with a double and scored on a single by Bautista.

The Rays scored twice in the third with the help of an error by second baseman Maicer Izturis. Buehrle retired the first seven batters, including four consecutive strikeouts, before Jose Molina singled. Desmond Jennings walked with two outs. Molina scored and Jennings scooted to third when Izturis let a roller by Ryan Roberts get past him for an error. Roberts was given an infield hit with the runners advancing on the error. Ben Zobrist singled in a run for a 2-1 Rays lead.

Bautista hit the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth to left for his 10th homer of the season to tie the game 2-2.

NOTES: The Rays have altered their rotation for their three-game series against the New York Yankees that opens on Friday at Tropicana Field. RHP Alex Cobb, who pitched 6 1/3 innings to defeat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, will be moved to Sunday in the rotation to face the Yankees. He exchanges places with RHP Jake Odorizzi, who will start instead on Monday against the Miami Marlins. ... Blue Jays LF Melky Cabrera was given a chance to rest his sore legs on Wednesday when Gose started in his place. Cabrera struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... The Rays have Thursday off and will open with RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 5.24 ERA) on Friday against the Yankees, who will start David Phelps (2-2, 3.83 ERA). ... The Blue Jays will send out Brandon Morrow (1-3, 5.16 ERA) against Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman, who will make his major-league debut, in the opener of a four-game series with the Orioles on Thursday at Rogers Centre.
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