ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays just have a hard time winning on the road against Tampa Bay.
Rookie Jake Odorizzi pitched into the seventh inning and Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist delivered key hits during a six-run outburst that helped the Rays to a 10-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday.
Toronto has not won a road series against Tampa Bay since April 2007, a span of 21 series.
“Definitely conscious of it because you’re playing here over and over,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Guys know that. It’s never been an easy place to play.”
The loss was the seventh in nine games for the second-place Blue Jays, who remained three games behind division-leading Baltimore in the AL East.
Despite its recent struggles, Toronto’s 49 wins are the most the Blue Jays have had before the All-Star break since 2006. A win Sunday would give them 50 wins before the break for the first time since 1992.
Pitching a day earlier than scheduled because All-Star David Price was ill, Odorizzi (5-8) allowed three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings. The 24-year-old right-hander walked two and struck out seven to improve to 3-1 over his last five starts.
Price is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Kiermaier and Joyce had three RBIs apiece and Zobrist finished with two.
The 1-2-3 hitters in the Rays’ lineup also combined to drive in five runs during a six-run sixth inning. Pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa drove in the first run of the inning, drawing a bases-loaded walk from Drew Hutchison (6-8) to snap a 2-2 tie.
Hutchison was embarrassed that he got ahead of hitters during the decisive sixth, but couldn’t put them away.
“That’s not going to get the job done,” Hutchison said. “I didn’t get the job done.”
The Rays, meanwhile, stopped a four-game losing streak against their division rivals, winning for just the third time in nine tries against Toronto this season.
“It was a good ballgame until it imploded on us,” Gibbons said.
Hutchison beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on April 1 at Tropicana Field and 10-5 in Toronto on May 26, despite not pitching six innings in either outing. He didn’t make it through the middle innings against them this time, either, running into trouble when the Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a single and two walks.