Brandon Morrow pitched seven scoreless innings and the Toronto Blue Jays further dampened Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes, beating David Price and the Rays 5-1 Friday night.
The Rays have lost four of five and dropped 2 1-2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox were rained out at New York.
Tampa Bay has only five games remaining — two against Toronto and three against the Yankees, who have already clinched the AL East title.
A night after pounding out 17 hits in a 15-8 road romp at Yankee Stadium, the Rays were limited to Matt Joyce’s second-inning infield single until Casey Kotchman singled with one out in the seventh off Morrow (11-11).
Morrow allowed two hits, walked four and struck out nine as Toronto played spoiler for the second straight night. Edwin Encarnacion’s 12th-inning walk-off homer at home beat Los Angeles 4-3, dropping the Angels three games behind Boston in the wild-card race.
Kelly Johnson homered and drove in two runs for the Blue Jays. He led off the sixth with a home run that drew a smattering of boos from a crowd of just 18,093 at half-filled Tropicana Field.
Johnson had a RBI single in the third and a solo homer in the sixth, both off Price (12-13). Eric Thames had a RBI single in the fifth.
Joel Carreno and Luis Perez each pitched an inning to finish a combined three-hitter for Toronto. The Rays didn’t get a runner past second base until the ninth, when Johnny Damon walked and wound up scoring from third on Joyce’s two-out single.
The Blue Jays scored three runs in the third, two on Price’s second throwing error of the inning. The all-star lefty came off the mound to field Thames’ high chopper with the bases loaded but his throw to the plate for a forceout sailed and skipped off the glove of leaping catcher Kelly Shoppach.
Toronto made it 3-0 on Johnson’s two-out, broken-bat single, but wound up costing themselves a run on the play when Jose Bautista overran second base and was thrown out by centre-fielder B.J. Upton — an instant before Thames crossed the plate for what would have been a fourth run in the inning.
The way the Rays were swinging the bats, it didn’t matter.
Price five runs — two earned — and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out seven.