ST. PETERSBURG -- Scott Kazmir entered Wednesday’s game having never beaten the Toronto Blue Jays in five career starts at Tropicana Field despite an ERA of under 2.00 and three outings of at least 10 strikeouts.
He still hasn’t, despite getting enough support to beat the Jays at least three times.
Kazmir tied a season-high when he allowed seven runs but escaped with a no-decision when the Rays beat the Jays 10-9 on an RBI single from Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Kazmir allowed nine hits but couldn’t hold leads of 5-2 and 9-6.
“I pitched way, way better than that,” Kazmir said. “It feels like I haven’t caught a break the whole year. It’s crazy the way things went out there.”
Kazmir was staked to a 5-2 lead after a three-run homer by Zobrist in the fourth inning. But Kazmir allowed a leadoff double to Scott Rolen in the fifth inning. He then allowed a single to Vernon Wells and walked Kevin Millar. Alex Rios drove in a run when he bounced into a force play. A two-out, two-run single by Marco Scutaro tied the score at 5.
“That three-run inning was a killer,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It would have made the game significantly different if we were able to avoid it.”
The Rays scored nine runs with Kazmir on the mound, but the lefty, making his third start since returning from the disabled list, couldn’t take advantage of the generous run support.
“(Allowing) seven runs? You got to be kidding me,” Zobrist said. “I just got to keep moving forward. Maybe I’m getting all the bad breaks out of the way for my entire career. Very frustrating. I feel it’s about time I get a break.”
Upton steals home
B.J. Upton stole home for the third time in his career during the first inning.
With Carl Crawford on first, Upton broke for the plate when Jays starter Brian Tallett threw over to first base.
“Having somebody on first base who can draw a throw matters,” Maddon said. “That was good anticipation by B.J.”
It was the eighth time in franchise history that a Ray has stolen home.
Upton’s three steals of the plate ties him with Torii Hunter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Omar Vizquel for the most among active players.
Ty Cobb is the all-time leader, having stole home 54 times during his career.
The Rays recorded back-to-back walk-off wins for the fourth time in team history.
The last was in 2006 when Aubrey Huff and Russell Branyan hit walk-off home runs on May 19-20, 2006.
Dome sweet home
The Rays have won a season-high seven straight at home. They are 12-1 in their past 13 games at the Trop and 22-5 since May 15.
The Rays are 10-0-1 in their last 11 series at the Trop.
The teams combined for 31 hits, the most in a game this season at Tropicana Field … The 4:05 game time was the longest this season for both teams … Ben Zobrist leads the American League with a .608 slugging percentage. He has nine home runs and 31 RBIs in his last 31 games … Scott Rolen extended his hitting streak to a career-high 25 games. It is the longest active streak in the majors … Gabe Kapler walked with the bases loaded for the second straight game. He is 13-for-26 with four home runs, a triple, six doubles, 15 RBI and five walks in his last 31 plate appearances … The Rays are 4-1 against the Jays this season … Wednesday’s game featured five lead changes.