ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The Tampa Bay Rays have lost the momentum from an outstanding road trip.
Steve Tolleson's two-run single snapped a ninth-inning tie and helped the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Rays 8-5 on Friday night.
Tampa Bay returned home Monday after a 9-2 road trip and have proceeded to lose three of four to start a six-game homestand. The latest loss dropped the Rays into last place in the AL East, 10 1/2 games behind Baltimore.
"Another weird game," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista also drove in two runs apiece for the Blue Jays, who blew a four-run lead before using a walk and Reyes' one-out double to set up the go-ahead hit off Grant Balfour (0-3).
"It's embarrassing, really," Balfour said. "Go out there and do that. I know I'm a lot better than that. I take the loss on my shoulders."
Toronto's Mark Buehrle labored five innings in pursuit of his elusive 11th victory, departing with a 5-2 lead that the Blue Jays' bullpen couldn't hold.
Buehrle is 0-5 over seven starts since last winning on June 1. He limited the Rays to Evan Longoria's first-inning sacrifice fly and Ben Zobrist's fourth-inning RBI single despite yielding nine hits, walking one and working through two jams with the bases loaded in his shortest outing of the season.
"We needed to get on him early," Maddon said. "We did get baserunners, but did not finish the deal. We really could have put a different tone on the game early."
Bautista added a RBI single in the ninth off Balfour.
The Rays loaded the bases in the first and second innings, but only scored once on Longoria's sacrifice fly. Buehrle escaped further damage in the first when Loney grounded into an inning-ending double play, then got through the second without allowing a run when Zobrist flied out.
Archer struck out five of the first six batters he faced before running into trouble in the third when Kawasaki, Cabrera and Bautista drove in runs to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. Reyes singled just beyond the reach of Zobrist in right field to drive in two more runs off Archer in the fourth
NOTES: Two Blue Jays left with injuries during the game. RF Nolan Reimold strained his left calf running the bases in the fourth, and Kawasaki was removed because of tightness in his right hamstring in the seventh. Tolleson entered the game as his defensive replacement. ... Tampa Bay CF Desmond Jennings was replaced by Kevin Kiermaier after fouling a pitch off his left knee in the second. ... Rays SS Yunel Escobar returned to the lineup after missing 15 games because of a sore right shoulder that put him on the disabled list. LHP Jake McGee, meanwhile, was placed on the paternity list following the birth of his daughter. ... Toronto put 1B Adam Lind on the 15-day DL list with a broken right foot and recalled INF Dan Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo. Johnson, inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter, drew four walks and scored three runs.