The Canadian Press
TORONTO–Kevin Pillar wasn’t going to let Saturday’s failed attempt at stealing second slow him down on the base paths.
After delivering a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning yesterday, the Blue Jays’ centre-fielder was aggressive in his pursuit of the go-ahead run on an infield grounder by Randal Grichuk and it paid off.
Rays’ reliever Ryne Stanek thought he had applied the tag before Pillar’s hand touched the plate but, following a review, Pillar was ruled safe and the Jays hung on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1.
“We were going on contact,” Pillar noted. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle to score runs, especially off these guys, they pitch real well.
“It’s a tough read right in front of the plate,” he remarked. “I felt the catcher was far enough that it was going to be difficult for him to come back and cover home plate.
“The pitcher being there surprised me a little bit and the first baseman made a great throw,” Pillar added.
“Fortunately for me, it was a little bit high and I was able to sneak in there.”
The win was just the second in seven games for the Jays (52-64).
The Rays (60-57), meanwhile, saw their three-game win streak come to an end.
Jaime Garcia (2-6) pitched a scoreless sixth inning while striking out two for the win. Ken Giles picked up his 13th save of the season.
Rays’ reliever Jose Alvarado (1-4) was charged with the loss.
Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman, who has been battling blister issues on the middle finger of his throwing hand and left last Tuesday’s start against the Red Sox due to discomfort, was limited to just five innings and 76 pitches.
The right-hander allowed one earned on five hits while striking out two and walking one.
“I pushed it pretty aggressively,” Stroman said. “I was just at the point where I felt like, if I continue to go, I would’ve had to possibly miss my next start so I battled.
“I only threw two pitches today,” he noted. “I only threw sinker/cutter today. I didn’t throw any curveballs or sliders.
“I feel great. It’s just a matter of managing it.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit doubled Minnesota 4-2, Boston beat Baltimore 4-1, New York dumped Texas 7-2, Cleveland topped Chicago 9-7, Seattle edged Houston 4-3 (10 innings), and Oakland shaded L.A. 8-7.
Over in the NL, Arizona dumped Cincinnati 9-2, New York beat Miami 4-3, Atlanta topped Milwaukee 8-7, Colorado edged L.A. 4-3, San Diego upended Philadelphia 9-3, San Francisco downed Pittsburgh 4-3, and Chicago shaded Washington 4-3,
St. Louis beat Kansas City 8-2 in interleague play.