Travis has 4 hits, Blue Jays beat Rays 7-5
TORONTO (AP) Devon Travis is settling nicely into the leadoff spot in Toronto's potent lineup.
Travis had a career-high four hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, and the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5 on Monday night.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 299th career home run as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak against the Rays.
Toronto is an MLB-best 45-26 since being swept at home by Tampa Bay from May 16-18. The Rays have gone 26-47 since, the worst record in the majors.
Travis has been batting leadoff regularly since an Aug. 1 win at Houston. He's 11 for 31 with three home runs and five RBIs since moving to the top of the order.
''He's on some kind of roll,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He's been doing a little bit of everything for us.''
Travis didn't play after July 28 last season because of a left shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. After watching from home while his teammates won the AL East last year, he's delighted to be a part of the playoff push this season.
''This is what it's about,'' Travis said. ''It was tough last year, sitting at home as a fan, screaming at the TV and the umpires and pulling for the boys.''
Encarnacion and Jose Bautista both had three RBIs as Toronto scored more than four runs for the first time since a 9-1 win over Baltimore on July 30.
Joaquin Benoit (2-1) worked one inning for the win. Roberto Osuna gave up Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth but finished for his 25th save.
Rays left-hander Xavier Cedeno (3-4) was replaced after walking the first two batters of the seventh. Dylan Floro came on and walked pinch-hitter Russell Martin to load the bases but got pinch-hitter Justin Smoak to bounce back to the mound, with Michael Saunders forced at home. Saunders took out catcher Bobby Wilson as he slid in, preventing what might have been an inning-ending double play. Travis followed with an RBI single and Bautista hit a two-run double.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said the double play became a challenge after Floro bobbled Smoak's bouncer.
''We're an executed play away from getting out of the inning with no runs,'' Cash said. ''We didn't execute the play and then they bust it open.''
Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi came in riding a streak of 20 2-3 scoreless innings but couldn't extend it. Travis tripled on Odorizzi's second pitch of the game and scored when Bautista followed with a first-pitch sacrifice fly.
''I wouldn't say I really had my best stuff tonight,'' Odorizzi said. ''I had to battle a lot.''
Encarnacion doubled the lead with a two-out homer, his 31st. It was Toronto's 17th straight solo home run, the longest streak since the Giants hit 21 in 2011.
Mikie Mahtook and Steve Souza Jr. tied it with RBI doubles in the fourth but the Blue Jays regained the lead on Encarnacion's two-out, two-run single in the bottom half.
''They keep coming at you,'' Tampa Bay's Brad Miller said of Toronto. ''We kept firing and firing and firing. They just did a better job of it.''
Tampa Bay tied it 4-all and chased knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Miller's two-run double in the fifth. Miller has at least one RBI in six straight games.
The Rays put runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh but couldn't score. Evan Longoria struck out and Forsythe didn't tag from third on Miller's fly ball to Bautista in right.
''We know where Bautista is at right now,'' Cash said. ''That's a throw that we've seen him make over and over.''
The Rays allowed four or more runs runs for the third time in 14 games. They're 7-7 in that span.
Blue Jays: OF Kevin Pillar (left thumb) was placed on the 15-day DL. Toronto recalled OF Darrell Ceciliani from Triple-A Buffalo.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (3-11, 5.14) is 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his past three starts. He's 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in four career games at Toronto, including two starts.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (7-4, 2.92) has won consecutive starts after going winless in his previous four outings. Estrada allowed one run in seven innings to beat Houston on Aug. 3.