Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ezequiel Carrera's Pinch-Hit Homer Lifts Blue Jays to 3-2 Win over Rays

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ezequiel Carrera's Pinch-Hit Homer Lifts Blue Jays to 3-2 Win over Rays

Article excerpt

Carrera lifts Blue Jays to 3-2 win over Rays


TORONTO - Roberto Osuna and Russell Martin both thought Steven Souza Jr.'s deep fly ball in the ninth inning was hit out of the park. Ezequiel Carrera thought his own an inning earlier would hook foul.

Luckily for the Blue Jays, all three were wrong.

Carrera hit a tiebreaking pinch-hit homer in the eighth and Osuna earned his 32nd save of the season in eventful fashion as the Toronto Blue Jays hung on to edge the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Monday.

Benches and bullpens cleared briefly after the final out -- a missile to the centre-field warning track with a runner on base that would have given Tampa a 4-3 lead if it cleared the fence -- but things quieted quickly and both teams walked back to their respective locker-rooms.

Martin said the short altercation stemmed from him telling Souza Jr., that he thought the ball would carry.

"There's no story," Martin said. "I told him he crushed the ball and he didn't understand what I said ... and before I could really explain, both teams got in that melee.

"I got to talk to him at the end and we're fine. There's no bad blood or anything."

Toronto's Troy Tulowitzki rushed in from shortstop amid the confusion. Souza Jr., said he didn't appreciate that.

"Troy decided to jump in and say some things that weren't really necessary," he said.

Osuna, who celebrated his save a pitch earlier before realizing that Martin had dropped a third strike, had to hold his breath as he watched Kevin Pillar backtrack to catch Souza Jr.'s ball.

In the end though, the 21-year-old said it didn't matter.

"To be honest I thought it was gone," he said. "When I looked at Pillar and he was going back, back, back I was like 'oh no.' But I mean, he got it and we won. That's it."

With the game tied 2-2, Carrera turned on a first-pitch fastball from Brad Boxberger (3-1) to lead off the eighth, sending it just over the left-field wall to give Toronto a precarious one-run lead.

It was the first pinch-hit homer for any Blue Jay since Carrera did it last July, and Carrera wasn't sure he'd gotten enough of it at first.

"I didn't think it was going to go out, but then for a second I thought it was going to be foul too, so it worked out pretty well," Carrera said through a translator. …

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