PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If their regular-season games are anything like their spring training matchups, Rays and Blue Jays will be a great rivalry this season.
Tampa Bay minor-league shortstop Omar Luna scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning, then won it with an RBI single in the 11th as the Rays defeated Toronto 4-3 on Wednesday.It was the third time in a row that a spring game between the two teams was decided by a walkoff single.On Tuesday, the Rays edged the Blue Jays 3-2 in 10 innings. On March 2 in Dunedin, Toronto won 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth."These games have been very interesting with Toronto the last couple of days," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I anticipate the same kind of game during the season when both varsities are playing."Rays center fielder B.J. Upton had a pair of doubles and drove in two runs while starting pitcher Jeff Niemann tossed four scoreless innings.It was Niemann's first outing since pitching two innings in a 'B' game against Minnesota in which he gave up seven hits and six runs."Today is kind of one of those days where everything clicked and you start the muscle memory and things feel like what they should feel like," Niemann said."I'm definitely getting there."After Niemann's four-hit, two-strikeout performance, the Blue Jays struck for three runs against Dane De La Rosa in the fifth. Corey Patterson drove in two runs with a triple, then scored on Yunel Escobar's single.The Rays tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on a John Jaso double, which drove in Luna.Brett Cecil went four innings for the Blue Jays, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out two. Alex Cobb (1-1) got the win. Luis Perez (0-1) took the loss.