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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Rays

First-place Jays snap Rays’ four-game win streak

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Published:   |   Updated: May 27, 2014 at 06:05 AM

— Erik Bedard had already showered and changed into his street clothes and was ready to walk out into the night when he was charged with another hit.

Kind of sums up how Monday night went for Bedard, who faced the powerful Toronto Blue Jays offense during the first game of the Tampa Bay Rays’ eight-game road trip.

The Rays’ four-game winning streak came to a stop at the Rogers Centre when the first-place Jays handed them a 10-5 loss.

“They just put the heavy gloves on and beat us up,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

It was the seventh straight win for the Jays, the longest current winning streak in the majors. This is also the deepest into a season the Jays have been in first place since 2000.

“You’re facing a hot team, and they’re hitting every hole,” Bedard said. “Everything was going their way. They hit good pitches, so you got to tip your hat and move on to the next one.”

Bedard entered the game pretty toasty himself.

He was 2-1 with a 0.91 ERA in his last five starts. He allowed 16 hits in 28 innings over that stretch -- the fewest in the majors by a pitcher with a minimum of 25 innings pitched.

That 0.96 ERA was also the lowest in the majors during the span of games played between April 25 and May 25.

Bedard allowed a career-high 13 hits after a fourth inning error charged to second baseman Cole Figueroa was changed to a hit after the game. He allowed a season-high eight runs, snapping a run where he allowed no more than one earned run in six straight starts.

“When you’re hot, everything falls,” Bedard said. “Everything was going their way.”

The Jays greeted Bedard with five straight hits and led 2-0 after the first inning.

Maddon talked before the game about Bedard’s ability to remain calm on the mound and not get rattled in tough situations. Bedard displayed that quality by getting the final two outs of the first inning while pitching with runners on first and second base and again in the second inning when he retired the Jays in order on three fly balls.

That allowed the Rays to rally in the third inning and tie the score 2-2 on a home run by David DeJesus and a sacrifice fly by James Loney.

But the Jays scored three times in the fourth inning.

Former Rays Dioner Navarro and Steve Tolleson opened the inning with back-to-back home runs. Miguel Cabrera singled home Kevin Pillar with two outs to give the Jays a 5-2 lead.

Navarro was the sixth hitter in the Jays lineup. Tolleson was the seventh.

To beat the Blue Jays you have to survive the top half of the order and handle the bottom half.

“You’re going to get beat up on top,” Maddon said, “but when you get beat up on the bottom, that’s when it becomes more difficult.”

The Rays rallied again to tie the score 5-5 with a three-run fourth.

It began with a double by Matt Joyce and continued when Desmond Jennings, batting cleanup for the first time in his career, and James Loney hit back-to-back home runs.

It was the first time this season the Rays hit back-to-back home runs.

Jennings batted cleanup Monday, because, Maddon said, that’s the way the lineup fell.

“(Loney) told me,” Jennings said. “I didn’t believe it. But I wouldn’t have bet that I wasn’t.”

It’s not unusual to see Jennings and Loney hit back-to-back, but it usually Jennings who follows Loney.

“I told Loney we were going to go back-to-back (home runs),” Jennings said, “but I didn’t think it would be me hitting the first one.”

Maddon has talked about the need for the Rays offense to be able to score enough runs to survive a poor outing by the starting pitcher. It appeared he was going to get his wish Monday.

“Absolutely,” Maddon said, “but it was not enough. They kept adding on.”

Bedard allowed three more runs in the fifth inning before being replaced by Alex Colome.

“That’s always the frustrating part,” Bedard said. “The team scored some runs for you, and you can’t (limit) the damage, I guess, but it happens.”

Colome was reinstated Sunday from a 50-game minor league suspension for testing positive in spring training for Bolderone – an anabolic steroid used to treat horses. He was recalled Monday when Brandon Guyer was placed on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb. Colome, scheduled to pitch Monday for Triple A Durham, received the call to guard against a short outing by Bedard or help out in the later innings if the Rays were trying to protect the lead.

Colome pitched the final four innings.

“He really did save (the bullpen),” Maddon said, “and what he did he put us back in order for (today).”

For his effort, Colome was sent back to Durham after the game. Maddon said a corresponding move will be made this afternoon. Maddon said they might not replace Guyer’s outfield spot with another outfielder.

rmooney@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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