TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays remained on the brink of a playoff spot after they lost 7-5 to Taylor Walls and the Tampa Bay Rays in 10 innings.
Toronto (89-72) could still manage to back into a playoff berth on Saturday. A loss for Seattle against Texas would secure a wild card for the Blue Jays. Losses for the Mariners and Astros, who were set to play at Arizona, would guarantee Toronto the second of three AL wild cards and set up a best-of-three postseason series at Tampa Bay.
“It’s hectic, it’s stressful and all that kind of stuff,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “But this is why you play. It’s exciting, it’s up and down, back and forth, all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day we control our own fate, so that part of it feels really good.”
Tampa Bay’s Junior Caminero, who drove in a run in the 10th, said the Rays enjoyed sending a sellout crowd of 42,097 home unhappy.
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“It’s all good for us,” Caminero said through a translator. “We’re doing everything we can to win and get the victory. We don’t really care about the fans over here, we’re just over here trying to do our job and win the game.”
If the Mariners manage to stay alive by beating the Rangers on Saturday night, Schneider said Toronto would use right-hander Kevin Gausman to try to clinch on the final day. If the Blue Jays and Rays end up meeting in the postseason, that could favor the Rays.
“If (Gausman) had a long outing tomorrow, I don’t know if he’d be back for the wild card,” Rays outfielder Josh Lowe said.
Walls lifted the Rays to a 6-4 lead with a two-run single off Jordan Hicks (3-9) with two out in the 10th. Caminero then drove in Raimel Tapia with an infield single.
“We’re kind of just going out there and trying to cause some chaos right now,” said Lowe, who had two hits and drove in a run. “It’s pretty fun.”
Rays right-hander Chris Devenski (6-4) pitched two innings for the win, working around Bo Bichette’s RBI double in the 10th.
“Devenski really stepped up in a big, big way for us,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Harold Ramírez had three hits for the Rays, including a tying two-run homer off Trevor Richards in the fifth.
George Springer hit a two-out double off Devenski in the bottom of the ninth, but Cavan Biggio flied out to send it to extra innings.
Daulton Varsho homered and drove in three runs, but it wasn’t enough for the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay’s Yandy Díaz entered as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and struck out on three pitches. Díaz (.330) trails Texas shortstop Corey Seager (.331 entering play Saturday) in a tight race for the AL batting title.
Isaac Paredes hit an RBI single off Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu in the first inning, and the first of Lowe’s two doubles made it 2-0 in the third.
“With these injuries that we have, we need guys like Josh to continue to step up and he has,” Cash said.
Varsho homered off right-hander Cooper Criswell to begin the Toronto third, his 20th. He put the Blue Jays in front with a two-run single in the fourth.
Springer added an RBI single, but Toronto stranded runners on first and second when Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struck out.
Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena walked to begin the fifth and Ramírez followed with his 12th homer.
“We came right back and answered back,” Cash said. “That was nice.”
Ryu allowed two runs and seven hits in three innings in his shortest start of the season.
“My command wasn’t there,” Ryu said through a translator.
Right-hander Shawn Armstrong opened for the Rays, pitching around a pair of walks in his lone inning. Recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game, Criswell followed and allowed four runs, three earned, and four hits in three innings.
To make room for Criswell, the Rays designated pitcher Erasmo Ramírez for assignment.
The Rays are 7-5 in extra innings, while Toronto is 10-9.
Rays: INF Osleivis Basabe came on as a pinch runner in the 10th and played second base in the bottom half. Basabe left Friday’s game after seven innings because of a sore left shoulder. Cash said Basabe is still sore but was able to hit and field.
Gausman (12-9, 3.16 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five September starts. The Rays had not named a starter for Sunday’s season finale.
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