ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Slumping Carlos Pena may have found his swing at the top of the Tampa Bay lineup.
Pena hit a three-run homer during a five-run fourth and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-5 on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon moved Pena up from the middle of the lineup to the leadoff spot in an attempt to help him break out of an offensive funk. Pena, who snapped an 0 for 18 slide on his sixth homer of the season, entered Tuesday hitting just .116 in May.
''You can't really quantify how much of a difference it makes, but Joe is really smart by shifting things like that,'' Pena said. ''It changes the energy and good things like this happen, not only individually but as a team. We put up some runs on the board and felt more comfortable.''
Pena's homer to center off Drew Hutchison (3-2) was estimated at 452 feet. He finished with two hits in five at-bats.
''I liked his at-bats in general,'' Maddon said. ''Overall it's just about a mind set. It's just about what you're thinking and changing that a little bit. It's all about confidence. When he gets his confidence going you're going to see a lot more of that.''
Drew Sutton had RBI double and Chris Gimenez hit a run-scoring grounder as the Rays took a 6-0 lead in the fourth. Gimenez also had a fifth-inning RBI single.
Rays starter Matt Moore walked three in the fifth and couldn't get through the inning as the Blue Jays scored four times to get within 6-4. Jose Bautista drove in two with a bases-loaded single and two more runs scored when third baseman Sean Rodriguez was charged with an error for an errant throw to first on Edwin Encarnacion's grounder.
''Obviously, I'm just upset with myself in that situation,'' Moore said. ''I know I'm better than that, and that's not the way I want to represent myself.''
Moore allowed four runs, three hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings.
Hutchison lasted four innings, giving up six runs and seven hits.
''I just didn't make good pitches,'' Hutchison said. ''Obviously struggled. Didn't give us a chance to win.''
Reliever Wade Davis (1-0) gave up one run in two innings. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
Tampa Bay also got solo homers from Luke Scott and B.J. Upton.
Yan Gomes had a sixth-inning solo homer for Toronto.
First base umpire Andy Fletcher briefly left after being hit by a batted ball. Fletcher appeared to get struck on the left arm behind the bag by Brett Lawrie's foul liner with two outs in the Toronto fourth inning. He returned to the field in the fifth.
''It seemed like the further he moved, the more the ball chased him,'' Lawrie said. ''Just a bit of bad luck that it hit him.''
Lawrie was called out by second umpire Rob Drake as part of a double play in the eighth. Drake ruled that Lawrie's momentum on a slide into second carried him past the bag and that he did not re-touch the base returning to first on Gomes' fly out.
''All I wanted to know was what was going on,'' Lawrie said. ''I didn't know what happened. For me, I didn't go to third base. I slid in, popped up and went back (to first). If I'm getting called out for something, I'm just wondering why I'm getting called out. I just didn't get an answer tonight.''
Lawrie completed a four-game suspension on Sunday. Lawrie was ejected last Tuesday by home plate umpire Bill Miller after complaining about consecutive called strikes. When Lawrie slammed his helmet on the ground, it bounced up and hit Miller on the right hip.
NOTES: Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria (partial tear left hamstring) has started a light running program. Longoria continues fielding grounders and taking batting practice. ... Toronto manager John Farrell said a minor league progression plan for DH-OF Vladimir Guerrero has not been finalized. ''He is in great shape,'' Farrell said. ''The early view has been positive,'' Guerrero is currently with the extended spring training team. ... Rays OF Desmond Jennings (sprained left knee) could soon be ready for a short minor league rehab assignment. ... Encarnacion, who has been getting treatment for a minor back injury, was the DH.
- Carlos Pena
- Toronto Blue Jays