Casali hits tiebreaking HR in 8th, Rays edge Blue Jays
TORONTO (AP) After six innings of swinging at knuckleballs, the Tampa Bay Rays adjusted well to facing more traditional pitchers.
Brandon Guyer hit a tying home run in the seventh and Curt Casali had a go-ahead shot in the eighth as the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Saturday.
Tampa Bay managed just one run and four hits off Toronto's R.A. Dickey, but won the game after his departure.
''You could tell the knuckleball was giving us fits,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Guyer went deep off left-hander Aaron Loup and Casali connected against righty Ryan Tepera.
''Casali and Guyer both, those were huge at-bats,'' Cash said.
Casali said facing Dickey's slow, dancing pitch means waiting longer than usual before swinging.
''As soon as the bullpen gets in the game you have to retool your swing a little bit,'' Casali said.
The Rays catcher did just that, hitting a high cutter from Tepera (0-1) into the left field bullpen for his second career home run and first in more than a month.
''It was pretty cool,'' Casali said. ''It definitely was not in my mind to do that. I'm just trying to get on base any way I can.''
Tampa Bay snapped a five-game road losing streak and won for the eighth time in 12 meetings with Toronto this season.
''You're trying to get the second half off to a good start,'' Casali said. ''Anything I can do to help the team win, I'm going to be excited about.''
Jose Bautista homered for the Blue Jays, who fell to 10-19 in one-run games.
Manager John Gibbons called it a ''very painful'' defeat.
''We coughed it up late via the home run ball,'' Gibbons said. ''It's tough. If we don't improve there, it's going to be a long year.''
Kevin Jepsen (2-5) worked one inning for the win, Brad Boxberger pitched out of a jam in the eighth and Jake McGee finished for his fourth save.
The Blue Jays used a hit by pitch and a walk to put runners at first and second with two outs in the eighth. Boxberger escaped by getting Justin Smoak to ground out.
John Jaso's RBI double gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the third. They missed an opportunity to add to their lead in the fifth when center fielder Kevin Pillar threw out Tim Beckham trying to score from second on Jaso's two-out single.
Cash asked for umpire Chris Guccione's call to be reviewed, but the play was confirmed.
Pillar doubled to lead off the bottom half and scored on a double by Devon Travis.
Rays right-hander Erasmo Ramirez left one batter after Travis' double. He allowed one run and four hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Bautista put the Blue Jays on top with a towering solo homer into the third deck off Steve Geltz in the sixth, his 18th. The Rays answered in the seventh when Guyer connected against Aaron Loup.
Dickey remained winless in five starts since beating the New York Mets on June 18. Toronto has scored two runs or fewer in 11 of Dickey's 19 starts this season, including each of the past five.
''It's been a peculiar year in that regard,'' Dickey said.
BOLT IN THE HOUSE
Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos, who was born in suburban Toronto, attended the game, wearing a throwback Rays cap. Stamkos visited the Rays clubhouse afterward.
Bautista's homer snapped a streak fo 14 1-3 scoreless innings by Rays relievers.
Rays: OF Desmond Jennings (right knee) is scheduled to begin working out with Class A Charlotte on Sunday. ... OF Steven Souza Jr. (right finger) will DH for Charlotte on Saturday night.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (9-6, 2.74 ERA) is 5-1 with a 2.51 in 12 career starts against the Blue Jays. In each of his past four starts against Toronto, Archer has worked at least seven innings, allowing no more than three hits and one earned run in each.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (6-5, 3.52 ERA) took a perfect game into the eighth inning of a June 24 start at Tampa Bay, but has won just once in three starts since. He has not allowed a run in 13 innings against the Rays this season.