- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

TORONTO (AP) - With a late power surge, the Tampa Bay Rays wiped away the memory of a tough loss.

Logan Morrison hit a two-run homer, Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson added solo shots and the Rays connected three times in the eighth inning to beat the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 on Friday night.

“To be a good team you’ve got to find ways to win close games on the road,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Today we did that.”

The Rays took a one-run lead in the 11th inning at Baltimore on Wednesday, only for the Orioles to rally for a 5-4 win in the bottom half.

Taking care of Toronto helped the Rays put that behind.

“We needed that one,” Longoria said.

Five of Tampa Bay’s past six wins have been come-from-behind victories.

Derek Norris added a solo homer in the ninth. He had two hits and two RBIs.

Kevin Pillar homered and reached base five times for the Blue Jays, who lost their third straight. Toronto’s 6-17 start is the worst in franchise history.

“Losing is always tough, especially the close ones,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Pillar’s leadoff drive off Austin Pruitt (3-0) in the seventh gave Toronto a 3-1 lead.

Dickerson homered off Marcus Stroman in the eighth and Longoria’s shot against Jason Grilli (1-3) tied the score, giving Toronto its big-league high eighth blown save.

Brad Miller walked, Steven Souza struck out and Dominic Leone came on to face Morrison, who homered into the center field party deck. The drive would have traveled 428 feet unimpeded, according to MLB’s Statcast.

“It’s not every day you come here and see a ball land up in the restaurant,” Cash said. “That was pretty impressive.”

Dickerson’s homer was his sixth, matching Longoria (2013) for the Rays record in April.

Stroman struck out a season-high 10 in 7 1/3 innings, but it wasn’t enough.

“It’s just frustrating,” Stroman said. “We kill ourselves to be at our best when we’re out there so when things don’t go our way, it’s tough. We’re doing everything in our power to turn this around”

Pruitt pitched three innings, and Chase Whitley got two outs for his first big league save.

Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell allowed two runs and six hits in five innings - he has failed to pitch into the sixth inning in four consecutive starts.

Pillar scored three runs and came within a triple of the cycle. He singled in the first, walked in the third, doubled in the fifth, homered in the seventh and doubled in the ninth, the second four-hit game of his career.

PASS THE SALT

Toronto designated C Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment and optioned RHP Casey Lawrence to Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays selected the contract of C Luke Maile and recalled LHP Matt Dermody. Saltalamacchia hit .040 (1 for 25) in 10 games, setting a Blue Jays record by striking out in 10 consecutive at-bats from April 13-22. He did not throw out any of the nine runners trying to steal against him.

OPEN AND SHUT

The Blue Jays have lost the opening game of all four home series this season, dropping games against Milwaukee, Baltimore and Boston before Friday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery) was held out of his rehab game at Double-A Montgomery because of an illness. He is expected to play Saturday and Sunday and could rejoin the Rays on Monday.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez remains on pace to come off the DL and start Sunday’s series finale after throwing a side session Friday. … 3B Josh Donaldson (right calf) and SS Troy Tulowitzki (right hamstring) will travel to Toronto’s spring training facility following this three-game series to continue their rehab.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese (1-0, 3.86) is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA in two starts at Rogers Centre. Andriese did not finish the fourth inning in either of those games.

Blue Jays: LHP Francisco Liriano (1-2, 4.58) allowed five runs in one-third of an inning in his season-opening start at Tampa Bay. In three starts since, he has a 2.08 ERA.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball


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