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DeLuca’s two-run homer lifts Rays over Blue Jays 5-4; Toronto blows 4-0 lead

Jonny DeLuca’s two-run homer in the eighth inning completed the Rays comeback as Tampa Bay rallied past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Saturday.

Jose Caballero had an RBI single and Amed Rosario added a two-run single in the sixth as Tampa Bay (25-22) scored five unanswered runs for its fourth straight win.

Zach Eflin (4-4) allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings. Relievers Erasmo Ramirez, Jason Adam and Garrett Cleavinger combined for three scoreless innings.

Daulton Varsho hit a two-run double and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had an RBI single in the fifth as Toronto (19-25) built a 4-0 lead. George Springer opened the scoring by driving in a run in the fourth.

Kevin Gausman struck out six and gave up eight hits and a walk but limited the Rays to three runs over six innings.

Yimi Garcia, Nate Pearson, Trevor Richards and Tim Mayza came out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Pearson was responsible for two runs, taking his first loss of the season.

Springer broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when his two-out single dribbled into shallow left field. That gave Guerrero ample time to trot home.

A quick Blue Jays rally in the fifth inning tacked three more runs on to that lead.

Varsho doubled to centre field to score Kevin Kiermaier and Davis Schneider, who had led off the inning with back-to-back hits. Guerrero singled to right field to score Varsho but was tagged out at second when he tried to stretch the hit into a double.

Still, the rally gave Toronto a 4-0 lead.

Rosario and Caballero replied for Tampa Bay in the next inning. Rosario came to the plate with the bases loaded but two outs, getting a hit to score Yandy Diaz and Harold Ramirez. Caballero then had a base hit to bring home DeLuca.

DeLuca gave the Rays their first lead of the game, sending a 97.3 m.p.h. four-seam fastball from Pearson out of the park. His second home run of the season bounced off the top of the left-field wall and into the Blue Jays bullpen. He scored pinch-runner Richie Palacios with the homer to make it 5-4 Tampa.

SWITCH ‘EM UP — Springer was moved from the leadoff spot down to sixth in Toronto’s lineup for the first time this season. Schneider was moved up to the top of the order. Springer was hitting .196 to start the game and Schneider had a .260 average.

Schneider led off the first inning with a double.

ON DECK — Alek Manoah (0-1) will take the mound for the Blue Jays in the finale of the three-game series with Tampa Bay.

Aaron Civale (2-3) will go for the Rays in the matinee.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2024.

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