Rays ride homers, new rule to first win

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ST. PETERSBURG — ’s two-run homer in the eighth inning and a violation of baseball’s new slide rule gave the Rays a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

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With the Rays up a run and the bases loaded, Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to third baseman Evan Longoria, who threw to Forsythe covering at second. When Forsythe’s throw sailed right of first baseman , two runs scored. Tampa Bay challenged the slide at second base on ’s aggressive move toward Forsythe. After 1 minute and 30 seconds, the call on the field was overturned and both runners were called out to end the game.

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The Rays went ahead in the eighth when Brett Cecil , behind 2-1, to Forsythe, who drove a curveball into the right-field stands for a two-run homer. The runs snapped Cecil’s streak of 38 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run. The win gave the Rays their first of the season after losing their first two to the Blue Jays. The final game of the series will be played Wednesday afternoon.

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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gone in a hurry: While Rays fans are getting to know this season, they’ve learned his homers leave the yard in a hurry. Sunday’s homer against Marcus Stroman was projected by Statcastâ„¢ to land 386.79 feet away and had an exit velocity of 102.31 mph. On Tuesday vs. , Dickerson’s leadoff homer in the fourth was projected by Statcastâ„¢ to land 411.46 feet away from home plate and had an exit velocity of 106.37 mph.

The streak ends: Cecil had a chance to set a Major League record for the most consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run, but that quest came crashing down in the eighth inning courtesy of Forsythe. It was the first time Cecil surrendered an earned run since June 21, 2015, which was a span of 38 appearances. He finishes tied with for the longest stretch cheap mlb jerseys size 60 without an earned run.

Going the opposite way: Bautista doesn’t usually go to the opposite field, but he did in the fourth inning, and it worked to perfection. With the outfield playing Bautista to pull, the veteran slugger hit a deep fly ball to right field. Steven Souza Jr. made an ill-advised decision to make a diving attempt, and when the ball rolled away, Bautista motored all the way to third. Bautista later scored on an error by Jerseys and the Blue Jays went on to score a pair of runs in the frame.

Trouble with the curve: Aaron Sanchez’s top priority this spring was to master his curveball, and while it’s still a work in progress, there were some encouraging signs Tuesday night. With runners on second and third with two outs in the third inning, Sanchez threw a nasty 3-2 curveball to strike out Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Sanchez had trouble keeping the curveball down in the zone earlier in the game, but it was perfectly located around the knees to Longoria as the Rays stranded two.

First error stings: Odorizzi tried to make a play at the plate when he fielded Encarnacion’s swinging bunt in the fourth, but he threw wild to the plate, allowing Bautista to score. It was Odorizzi’s first Major League error.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

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