Josh Donaldson hit a three home run and the Toronto Blue Jays got a quality start from J.A. Happ, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Toronto held a 3-2 lead until the bottom of the eighth when John Gibbons opted to lift Gavin Floyd for Arnold Leon with runners on the corners. Leon quickly surrendered a three-run blast to Steven Souza, his second of the afternoon.
Souza’s first home run came in the sixth inning, a solo job. The ball eluded the outstretched glove of a leaping Kevin Pillar by inches, bouncing off the top of the wall and falling on the other side.
Happ lasted six full innings and allowed seven hits with two earned runs. He struck out four while walking just one, but forced only two ground ball outs on the day.
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Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore lasted 5.0 innings on 102 pitches, allowing five hits and three earned runs. Toronto continued to rack up the strikeouts, however, with six coming from Moore.
Donaldson later left the game after appearing to tweak something in her lower body on a chopper in the seventh inning following an awkward swing. Barney moved to third while Ryan Goins entered in relief at second base.
Happ hit some turbulence in the fourth after needing just 38 pitches in his first three innings. Four singles brought in one run before Happ came up with a critical strikout and pop-up to escape the inning with only one run allowed.
Left-fielder Michael Saunders was given the day off while dealing with what manager John Gibbons called a tight hamstring but is expected to return to the lineup Friday in Toronto. Saunders is 3-for-12 through the first three games with one home run and three RBI.