Blue Jays down Rays to avoid 3-game sweep
Kevin Pillar doubles, scores winning run in 2-1 triumph
Kevin Pillar wasn't going to let Saturday's failed attempt at stealing second slow him down on the base paths.
After delivering a pinch-hit double in the sixth on Sunday, the Blue Jays centre fielder was aggressive in his pursuit of the go-ahead run on an infield grounder by Randal Grichuk and it paid off.
Rays reliever Ryne Stanek thought he'd applied the tag before Pillar's hand touched the plate but, following a review, Pillar was ruled safe and the Blue Jays hung on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1.
"We were going on contact. It's been a little bit of a struggle to score runs, especially off these guys, they pitch real well," said Pillar.
"It's a tough read right in front of the plate, I felt the catcher was far enough that it was going to be difficult for him to come back and cover home plate. The pitcher being there surprised me a little bit and the first baseman made a great throw. Fortunately for me, it was a little bit high, and I was able to sneak in there."
The win is just the second in seven games for the Blue Jays (52-64). The Rays (60-57) saw its three-game win streak come to an end in the loss.
Giles picks up save
Jaime Garcia (2-6) pitched a scoreless sixth inning while striking out two for the win. Ken Giles picked up his 13th save of the season.
Rays reliever Jose Alvarado (1-4) was charged with the loss.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who has been battling blister issues on the middle finger of his throwing hand and left last Tuesday's start against the Red Sox due to discomfort, was limited to just five innings and 76 pitches. The right-hander allowed one earned on five hits while striking out two and walking one.
"I pushed it pretty aggressively, I was just at the point where I felt like, if I continue to go, I would've had to possibly miss my next start so I battled," said Stroman. "I only threw two pitches today. I only threw sinker/cutter today. I didn't throw any curveballs or sliders. I feel great. It's just a matter of managing it."
Jays find scoreboard in 6th
Tampa got to Stroman in the fourth when Joey Wendle led off with a single and came around to score on an RBI single from Willy Adames two hitters later.
The Blue Jays found the scoreboard in the sixth.
Rays starter Tyler Glasnow issued a lead-off walk to catcher Luke Maile. With Alvarado on in relief, Pillar, who was pinch hitting for Curtis Granderson, doubled to the wall in left and Devon Travis followed up with an RBI single.