ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Josh Lowe hit a three-run homer and a walk-off single that capped a two-run ninth inning, lifting Tampa Bay over the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Saturday after the Rays wasted a five-run lead.
Rays prospect Junior Caminero made his big league debut at 20 years, 80 days and went 1 for 4 with a walk. He beat out what would have been an inning-ending, double-play grounder in the ninth — the initial out call by first base umpire Alex Tosi was reversed in a video review. Lowe then sliced an opposite-field single down the left-field line off Jordan Romano (5-6), who blew a save for the fourth time in 40 chances.
“Right when I made contact with the ball, I knew I had to hustle,” Caminero said through a translator.
Yandy Díaz had four hits, and Díaz, Lowe and Christian Bethancourt homered for the Rays (95-61), who assured themselves no worse than the top AL wild card. The Rays are 1 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore.
“Everyone knows when something like that happens, the emotion drops,” Díaz said through a translator of the blown lead. “We stayed positive after that, and got the emotion up after that.”
It was the Rays' major league-best 11th walk-off win this season.
Toronto (86-69) holds the second AL wild card, one game ahead of Houston and two games in front of Seattle.
With the Blue Jays trailing 6-5, Díaz doubled leading off the ninth, took third on Harold Ramírez's single and scored on Curtis Mead's single. Díaz, second in the AL batting race, raised his average to .327,
Blue Jays manager John Schneider and an athletic trainer went to check on Romano during the ninth. Schneider said the right-hander had cracked a nail during a four-out save in Friday night's 6-2 win.
“We knew that going in.” Schneider said. “Just wanted to make sure he was good, He was looking at it, but I don't think it affected him, physically. He said ‘I’m good. I'm good to make pitches. See you later.'”
Toronto trailed 5-0 and was down 5-4 in the eighth when Pete Fairbanks threw a run-scoring wild pitch, walked Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Cavan Biggio, hit Matt Chapman with a pitch and forced in a run with a walk with Whit Merrifield. Fairbanks has blown four of 28 save chances.
Díaz hit a leadoff homer and Lowe added a three-run drive in a four-run first against Hyun Jin Ryu. Bethancourt made it 5-0 on his fourth-inning homer.
Rays starter Zack Littell took a shutout in the sixth but was pulled after the Blue Jays put two runners on with two outs due to Mead's throwing error at third and a wild pitch on a strikeout.
Shawn Armstrong entered and gave up four straight hits, including George Springer's two-run double, Guerrero's RBI single and Biggio's run-scoring double.
Caminero is wearing No. 1.
When asked why, he said with a smile through a translator “Because I am No. 1.”
Caminero lined a single to left in the third for his first hit in his first official at-bat. He had walked in the first.
“It's a dream come true,” Caminero said. “It's a dream that turned into reality.”
FANS IN THE STANDS
The announced crowd was 22,655 as the Rays’ reached 1.4 million in home attendance for the first time since 2014. Tampa Bay has the major's fourth-lowest home attendance this season
Blue Jays: 1B Brandon Belt (back) may be back in the next couple days.
Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (fractured right patella) and RHP Jason Adam (oblique) went on the IL. ... LF Randy Arozarena (left quadriceps) didn't play and is day to day. ... Reliever Robert Stephenson (sore neck) was not available and is day to day.
Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (10-6) and Rays RHP Taj Bradley (5-7) are Sunday’s starters.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press