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Jose Lobaton hits walkoff homer, Blue Jays waste Todd Redmond's solid start

Blue Jays 1 @ Rays 2

Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond
Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond
Charles Sonnenblick

With his family watching from the stands, Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond threw a great game in an attempt to secure a series win for this team against the Rays. Redmond, a native St. Petersburgian, threw six innings of six-hit, one-run ball in a solid outing, pitching into the seventh inning for the first time in his major league career. Unfortunately, Rays starter Chris Archer threw just as well--limiting the Blue Jays to a run on four hits in his seven-inning performance.

The Rays got on the scoreboard early on an Evan Longoria homer just over the fence in right field. The ball was caught by a Rays fan right on top of the fence, so John Gibbons asked the umpires to review the play. They did, but upheld their initial call for a home run. Redmond then proceeded to retire eight in a row before Longoria came back up to stroke a one-out double, but Redmond stranded him there with a couple of grounders.

For the other side, Archer was good. He retired the Blue Jays one through nine to start the game before Anthony Gose came through with a single in the top of the fourth. Archer would not allow another hit until the top of the seventh, when he made his only mistake of the game, throwing Edwin Encarnacion a breaking ball down in the zone. Encarnacion was waiting for it, having not been able to square up Archer's 97-mph fastballs, and launched the 1-2 pitch on a line to left field to tie the game up 1-1.

Redmond stepped back on the mound in the seventh, and got o a 2-2 count against James Loney before he singled to centre field, and then Yunel Escobar lined one just a couple of inches above a leaping Mark DeRosa in a hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. Redmond was pulled from the game for Brett Cecil at that point to a standing ovation from his on-looking family. Joe Maddon countered the move by bringing in Jason Bourgeois to replace Kelly Johnson. Maddon called for a safety squeeze on Cecil's second pitch, but Bourgeois missed it and Loney strayed too far from third. Loney was promptly retired on a short 2-5-2-6 run down. Cecil got Bourgeois to ground out then struck out Jose Lobaton to end the Rays' threat.

After getting a couple of flyballs to centre, Fernando Rodney threw a 98-mph fastball to Edwin Encarnacion, who hooked it deep to the left field corner. It bounced right on the yellow line marking the top of the wall and back into play, and Encarnacion had to settle for a double, missing a go-ahead homer by less than an inch. The play was clear enough to the umpires to not warrant a review. Adam Lind then flew out to harmlessly to end the inning. Sergio Santos came in and kept the score tied in the ninth, and Jake McGee did the same to the Jays in the tenth.

In the bottom of the tenth, Gibbons chose to use Brad Lincoln against the bottom of the Rays' order. After striking out Bourgeois, Lincoln threw four straight 92-mph fastballs at Lobaton, who deposited the last one in the right field stands. The homer made Lincoln walk off the mound in Tropicana Field with the loss for the second time this year--Lincoln walked Luke Scott with the bases loaded back on May 9. Jose Lobaton also got his second walkoff hit against the Blue Jays this series, having tripled off Aaron Loup on Friday evening.

Before Jose Lobaton, the last batter to walk off the Blue Jays in consecutive walkoff losses was the Indians' Albert Belle, who hit a walkoff homer against Tony Castillo on August 30, 1995 and then another one off Jimmy Rogers on the very next day. The A's Rickey Henderson also walked off the Jays on May 23 and 24, 1981.

Kevin Pillar went hitless again this game, and has now started his major league career 0-for-13. Playing left field, he had a couple of interesting plays this game. In the fifth, Yunel Escobar hit one into the left-centre field gap with both Pillar and Anthony Gose ran to catch it. Gose had it in his glove, but Pillar never stopped or peeled off and crashed into Gose, knocking the ball out of his glove. Going with the theme of the game, their two heads were a mere inch from colliding with each other. Both of them were lucky they didn't get hurt. Later in the game, Pillar and Gose came close to each other again, but this time Pillar was able to catch the ball cleanly before his legs crumpled from under him.

So the Blue Jays drop another series against the Rays at Tropicana Field. They haven't won one there since April 2007, and will have to wait until 2014 to try again. The Blue Jays' record there is now 1-19-1 since the start of 2007.

Jays of the Day! Brett Cecil (+.398 WPA), Edwin Encarnacion (+.243), Sergio Santos (+.117).

Suckage Jays Brad Lincoln (-.383), Maicer Izturis (-.164), Mark DeRosa (-.148), Adam Lind (-.136), J.P. Arencibia (-.122), Jose Bautista (-.114). Todd Redmond (-.105) had the numbers, but I can't give it to him.

The Blue Jays have tomorrow off before playing two against the Yankees on Tuesday. Esmil Rogers will take the 1:05 pm game, and Mark Buehrle will start the 7:05 pm game.