Austin Meadows hit the tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning and added an insurance RBI double in the eighth Thursday night for the host Tampa Bay Rays, who remained atop the American League wild-card standings with a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
With their seventh win in eight games, the Rays stayed a half-game ahead of the Oakland Athletics, who beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-6 earlier Thursday, in the race for the top wild card in the AL. The Cleveland Indians fell a game behind the Athletics with a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The Blue Jays have lost four straight and 13 of their last 16.
Toronto twice trailed by two runs before Bo Bichette’s second homer, a two-run shot, tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the seventh. But Meadows wasted no time putting the Rays back ahead by homering on the second pitch by Buddy Boshers (0-3) in the bottom of the inning
An inning later, Joey Wendle beat out an infield single with two outs before Meadows doubled for his third hit of the night.
Oliver Drake (4-2) got the win despite allowing Bichette’s game-tying homer in the seventh inning. Emilio Pagan, the Rays’ seventh pitcher, gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth before earning his 18th save.
Bichette’s first homer, a leadoff blast in the first, capped a 13-pitch at-bat against Austin Pruitt and gave the Blue Jays a quick lead.
Meadows helped the Rays take their first lead in the fourth, when he delivered a leadoff double and scored when Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak misplayed a grounder by Tommy Pham. Two outs later, Pham scored on a sacrifice fly by Avisail Garcia.
Travis d’Arnaud drew a bases-loaded walk to extend the Rays’ lead to 3-1 in the fifth. The teams traded runs in the sixth, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. laced an RBI single for the Blue Jays, and Nate Lowe answered with a sacrifice fly.
Pruitt allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out four over five innings. Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out four over 4 2/3 innings.
—Field Level Media