Tampa Bay Rays finish up long road trip with 9-4 victory over Blue Jays

ASSSOCIATED PRESSApril 20, 2012 

TORONTO -- Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer and came within a triple of the cycle, Desmond Jennings added a solo shot and the Tampa Bay Rays ended a 10-game road trip by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 Thursday night.

Longoria went 3 for 4 with a season-high four RBIs and reached base four times as the Rays tagged Blue Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez for a career-high six earned runs. Longoria singled home a run in the first, homered in the fifth, drew an intentional walk in the seventh and hit an RBI double in the ninth.

Alvarez allowed six hits in 6 1-3 innings, walked two and struck out four.

Jeremy Hellickson won for the Rays, who have won nine of their past 12 games against the Blue Jays and 10 of 15 at Rogers Centre. Hellickson (2-0) gave up three runs, two earned, in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four.

The Rays went 4-6 on a three-city trip to Detroit, Boston and Toronto that began with seven straight day games, including an 11:05 a.m. start at Fenway Park last Monday. It matches the longest trip of the season for Tampa Bay, who have a 10-game trip to Minnesota, Seattle and Los Angeles in mid-August.

Hellickson left after Yunel Escobar drew a two-out walk in the sixth. Kelly Johnson singled off Jake McGee and Burke Badenhop walked Jose Bautista to load the bases for Adam Lind, but J.P. Howell escaped the jam by getting Lind to line out to first.

Howell worked 1 1/3 innings, Joel Peralta pitched one inning and Fernando Rodney finished, giving up Brett Lawrie's RBI grounder in the ninth.

Trailing after Longoria's RBI single in the first, the Blue Jays tied it in the bottom half on Lind's two-out double.

The Rays reclaimed the lead with two in the second. Matt Joyce scored on Sean Rodriguez's single to right when Bautista's throw skipped past catcher J.P. Arencibia and struck Alvarez, who was backing up, on the left collarbone. Alvarez went down and was treated briefly on the field but stayed in the game. Rodriguez took third on Bautista's throwing error on scored on a base hit by Jennings.

Toronto tied it at 3 in the fourth. Arencibia hit an RBI double and Escobar followed with a grounder to short, with Arencibia scoring on Rodriguez's throwing error.

The Rays took the lead for good with a three-run, two-homer fifth. Jennings hit a one-out drive to left, his first and, after Zobrist walked, Longoria made it 6-3 with a shot off the facing of the center field restaurant, his second. Longoria doubled home a run off Jason Frasor in the ninth, and Luke Scott capped it with a two-run double.

Noteworthy

Tampa Bay moved C Robinson Chirinos (concussion) to the 60-day DL. The Rays are also expected to activate OF B.J. Upton (sore back) off the DL today, meaning they will make two roster moves before hosting Minnesota.

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