Lind hits tiebreaking homer, Jays beat Rays 6-3
TORONTO (AP) Adam Lind ended the longest home-run drought of his career at a good time for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lind hit a tiebreaking, two-run shot in the seventh inning, Edwin Encarnacion also went deep and the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 on Saturday.
Lind connected off Brad Boxberger (5-2) for his first homer since June 23 against the New York Yankees. He'd gone 36 games without homering, seven more than his previous longest stretch.
''Nice to join the party,'' joked Lind, who finished 2 for 3 with a walk and three RBIs.
Manager John Gibbons said Lind has ''one of the nicest, pure swings you're going to find.''
''Against right-handers, there's not a better hitter out there,'' Gibbons said.
Encarnacion followed Lind's drive by sending the first pitch he saw from Steve Geltz into the second deck in left, the eighth time this season the Blue Jays have hit back-to-back home runs.
R.A. Dickey (13-12) allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight decision as the Blue Jays improved to 8-3 in September. Toronto came in four games out in the AL wild-card race.
Blue Jays starters have worked six innings or more in 19 consecutive games. That matches the longest such streak in team history, first set in 1998.
''The rotation is on some kind of roll,'' Gibbons said.
Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 23rd save in 28 chances as the Blue Jays won for the fifth time in seven meetings with the Rays.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring against Dickey after just six pitches. Leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist doubled, moved to third on a grounder and scored on Evan Longoria's groundout.
Kevin Kiermaier scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the third, but the Blue Jays answered with three runs in the bottom half. Ryan Goins scored on a throwing error by pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, Jose Bautista drove in the second run with a single off Hellickson's glove, and the third run scored on Lind's grounder.
Hellickson, who won a Gold Glove in 2012, was upset at himself over his two fielding miscues.
''That was pretty embarrassing,'' he said. ''Those plays have got to be made.''
Longoria tied it again when he led off the sixth inning with his 21st home run.
Hellickson allowed two earned runs and four hits in six innings, matching a season high with eight strikeouts. He also struck out eight Blue Jays on Aug. 23 at Toronto.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Nauert for arguing after he struck out in the ninth.
A fan behind Tampa Bay's dugout threw a pepper at Rays SS Yunel Escobar as he left the field. Escobar, who was reprimanded for writing a slur on his eye black while playing for Toronto in 2012, declined to comment. Police said they were attempting to identify the fan using video.
Two-time Gold Glove 3B Longoria made a diving stop on Danny Valencia's grounder down the third base line to begin the second and, from foul territory, made a one-hop throw from one knee to get the out at first. ''I thought it was a double,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''It was past him when he made the play. Great play, great throw.''
DURHAM FACES DECIDER
Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, were a strike away from claiming their second straight Governor's Cup title Friday night, but gave up a tying hit to Pawtucket's Rusney Castillo, the recent $72 million signing by Boston. Durham, who lost 4-2 in 13 innings, hosts Pawtucket in the decisive Game 5 on Saturday night.
WALK THIS WAY
Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar drew a one-out walk in the sixth, his first base on balls in 90 plate appearances this season.
Rays RHP Chris Archer (9-8) faces Mark Buehrle (12-9) in Sunday's series finale. Buehrle, who's 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts against the Rays this season, was bumped up a day to face Tampa Bay, with rookie Marcus Stroman pushed back for extra rest. Archer will face Toronto for the sixth time in 2014.