by Steve Carney
Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria each had three hits including a home run, as the Tampa Bay Rays ended their two game skid with a 10-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
Longoria had an RBI single in the bottom of the first off starter Ricky Romero (0-2) that cut the initial Toronto 2-0 lead in half. James Loney followed with an RBI single of his own to tie the game, and following an Yunel Escobar flyout for the first out of the inning, Luke Scott singled home Ben Zobrist to give Tampa Bay a lead they would never relinquish.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons pulls Romero after facing Scott, and Edgar Gonzalez was able to get out of the inning without any more damage.
Gonzalez allowed an RBI single by Zobrist in the second that extended the lead to 4-2, and Longoria's two-run homer in the fourth made it a 6-2 Tampa Bay advantage.
Johnson would end Gonzalez's night in the sixth, as his two-run shot made it an 8-2 game, while an RBI double by Loney later in the inning made the lead seven runs. Loney would score on a sacrifice fly by Scott two batters later.
Toronto would get two more runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion and RBI single by Mark DeRosa, both off Jamey Wright, but Cesar Ramos got Maicer Izturis to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
The left-hander would also throw scoreless eighth and ninth innings to finish out the contest.
Tampa Bay will look to salvage a series split Thursday, as reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price (1-3, 6.25 ERA) will face off with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with coverage on 620 WDAE starting at 6:00 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealer Inside Pitch.
NOTES: Manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the sixth inning by home plate umpire Scott Barry. Maddon is the first in Rays history to be ejected from two consecutive games, and has now been thrown out of 30 games in his career, extending his franchise lead. By getting five plate appearances Wednesday, first baseman James Loney now has enough to qualify for the batting title, and now leads the American League with a .385 average.