EditorsNote: rewords third graf
Justin Smoak hit his third career walk-off home run to complete a seven-run ninth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays came back to defeat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 9-8 Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
The Rays took an 8-2 lead into the ninth.
Jaime Schultz allowed ninth-inning doubles by Dwight Smith Jr. and Rowdy Tellez to start the inning. Jonathan Davis was hit by a pitch, and one out later, Danny Jansen hit his third homer of the season, scoring three to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Sergio Romo (3-4) entered and struck out Richard Urena before pinch hitter Kendrys Morales hit a two-out single and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with his ninth homer of the season to tie the game. Smoak then won the game with his 25th of the season.
Tellez also had a two-run homer in a three-RBI game for Toronto (70-83).
David Paulino (1-0) pitched a perfect top of the ninth to earn the win.
C.J. Cron had three RBIs and Tommy Pham had three hits and two RBIs for the Rays (85-67), who dropped to 6 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
Ryne Stanek allowed two runs and three hits in one-plus innings as the “opener” for the Rays. Yonny Chirinos replaced him in the second and held Toronto to one hit and one walk while striking out five in 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Toronto starter Sam Gaviglio allowed two runs, four hits and one walk while striking two in five innings.
After a perfect first, Stanek failed to get an out in the second, allowing a leadoff double to Randal Grichuk, the second homer of the season by Tellez and a single by Kevin Pillar.
The Rays tied the game in the fourth. Matt Duffy singled and stole second. Pham tripled, and Joey Wendle doubled.
Jose Fernandez replaced Gaviglio in the sixth. Ji-Man Choi led off with a walk and took second on Pham’s single. Jake Petricka entered with one out and allowed an RBI single by pinch hitter Willy Adames.
Mallex Smith led off the Rays’ five-run seventh with a walk against Mark Leiter Jr., stole second and took third on Duffy’s infield single. Duffy took second on a wild pitch with one out. Smith scored on Pham’s infield single, and Wendle followed with an RBI single to give Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead.
Joe Biagini replaced Leiter. Kevin Kiermaier walked with two outs to load the bases, and Cron delivered a bases-clearing single.
Tampa Bay’s Hunter Wood allowed one hit and struck out one in the seventh and eighth innings.
—Field Level Media