Surging B.J. Upton helps Rays sweep Jays
B.J. Upton hit his eighth home run in 14 games and Jeremy Hellickson won for the first time in more than a month to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 on Sunday.
It was the fifth straight win for the Rays, who started the day 3½ games behind the Oakland Athletics in the race for the AL's second wild-card spot.
"We're just going out and winning, and seeing what happens," Upton said. "We just have to go out and win as many ballgames as we can."
Chad Jenkins was the tough-luck loser in his first big league start for Toronto, allowing one run and two hits over five innings.
Toronto has lost six in a row and 10 of 12.
"We're all well aware of where we are," Farrell said. "We have to continue to go out and execute. There's no secret formula for this. It's not that we're looking for something that has been hidden in our clubhouse for the last month and a half. It's all here right in front of us."
Hellickson (9-10) pitched 5 2-3 innings, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out six. The right-hander has given up only 16 runs in his last eight starts, but has won only two of them. Sunday marked his first win since Aug. 20.
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 44th save.
Upton's 26th home run came in the first inning off Jenkins.
"That first inning I was a little excited," Jenkins said. "After that I settled down. I stopped trying to overthrow as much. Kept the ball down. Start mixing the change up a little bit more, keeping them off balance."
Evan Longoria, who had two of Tampa Bay's seven hits, drove in the other runs with a double in the eighth off Brandon Lyon. His double came after the Blue Jays intentionally Ben Zobrist with one out and Desmond Jennings on second.
"Just trying to set-up the groundball double play," Farrell said. "Unfortunately the cutter stays over the plate rather than get to the outer edge and he drives the ball into right field."
The Rays, who lead the AL with 111 errors, relied on big defensive plays to preserve their 15th shutout of the season. With Anthony Gose on third base and two outs in the Toronto seventh, reliever J.P. Howell ran down a chopper past the mound and threw out Colby Rasmus.
"We had opportunties in the fifth, sixth and seventh," Farrell said. "A two-out hit was elusive, and in the end we're sitting there with a goose egg on the board."
Yunel Escobar had three hits for the Blue Jays, who went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.