Toronto-Tampa Bay: Blue Jays Fall to Rays and Lose Two Shortstops

Dino MoriAnalyst IMay 7, 2008

It was a painful night both on the field and on the scoreboard for the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center on Tuesday.

Not only did the Blue Jays lose 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays to snap their five-game win streak, but they also lost the services of both shortstops. 

Starting infielder David Eckstein left after the fifth inning due to a sore hip.  He is listed as day-to-day. 

John McDonald, meanwhile, was carted off in the sixth inning after falling awkwardly on his ankle ranging for a ground ball deep in the hole off the bat of Rays' outfielder Gabe Gross. 

It is uncertain at this time how long McDonald will be out of the Jays lineup, but it is fair to say it may awhile.

A towering homer by designated hitter Eric Hinske off Windows Restaurant in the sixth inning proved to be the decisive run for the Rays, who stopped a three-game losing skid.

Hinske, the former rookie of the year with the Blue Jays back in 2002, also doubled in four at bats.

Blue Jays right hander A.J. Burnett was looking to continue the string of strong outings by Toronto's starting rotation.  But he was pulled after six by manager John Gibbons after allowing five runs on nine hits.  Burnett managed to strike out ten Tampa Bay batters, but took the loss to fall to 3-3.

Rays' starter Andy Sonnanstine, meanwhile, gave up four runs on ten hits in six innings to improve to 5-1 on the season. 

Toronto, who trailed 5-3 in the sixth, nearly tied it when first baseman Lyle Overbay's fly ball hit the top of the center-field wall with teammate Vernon Wells on base.  Overbay recorded a double on the play, but was left at third after Marco Scutaro bounced into a 5-4-3 double play to snuff out the rally.

The Blue Jays never really threatened after that, thanks in large part to the relief work Dan Wheeler and Troy Percival.  Percival notched his seventh save of the season after getting Blue Jays' right-fielder Alex Rios to fly out and end the game.

Game two of this three-game series continues on Wednesday as Tampa Bay's Matt Garza (1-0, 6.16 ERA) goes up against Toronto's Shawn Marcum (3-2, 2.70 ERA). 

The Blue Jays will be looking to record their first victory of the season versus the Rays.  Toronto is 0-4 thus far, losing to Tampa Bay three times in Orlando last week.