SPORTS

Bautista, Travis and Pompey homer as Jays top Rays 12-7 for first home win

04/15/2015 10:13 EDT | Updated 06/26/2015 03:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays blasted three homers, scored multiple runs in each of the first five innings and stroked 13 hits in a comfortable 12-7 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

That display of offensive might was overshadowed in the seventh inning by Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar, who left the Rogers Centre crowd of 15,086 abuzz with an all-world defensive effort.

Pillar scaled the wall to rob Tim Beckham of a home run, timing his jump perfectly to get his glove over the wall in time to make a stunning highlight-reel catch.

"I'm pretty amazed by it," Pillar said. "I watched it a couple times on my phone when I got in. It's going to be tough to top making a play like that in my career. I'm just thankful I had an opportunity to rob a home run in the big leagues."

He earned a standing ovation for the effort and the crowd rose to its feet again when he came in to the dugout.

With Michael Saunders still out of the lineup as he gets back in form after knee surgery, Pillar has been given an opportunity as the everyday left-fielder and he's taking full advantage.

"I take a lot of pride in my defence," he said. "Being able to take back a home run feels just as good as hitting a home run for me."

Pillar had two of Toronto's 13 hits on the night and scored two runs. He has three multi-hit games this season, his average is up to .314, and his all-around defensive game has been impressive too.

"The way he's played the first week-and-a-half or two weeks, just give him the Gold Glove right now," said winning pitcher Mark Buehrle. "He's made some great catches out there defensively, throwing guys out at bases and obviously what he's doing offensively — he's hitting the ball pretty well too.

"So give him the Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger, everything you need to give him right now because he's been playing outstanding."

Jose Bautista, Devon Travis and Dalton Pompey of Mississauga, Ont., homered for the Blue Jays, who picked up their first home win in three tries this season. Josh Donaldson scored twice and drove in three runs as Toronto ended Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak.

This game was essentially over early, with the Rays (5-4) scoring four times in the ninth inning to make it less of a rout.

"Still impressed with the way the guys came back in the later innings," said Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash. "I love the way the guys just keep approaching the game."

Buehrle (2-0) allowed seven hits and three earned runs over six innings. He had two hiccups on the night: a Steven Souza Jr. no-doubt solo shot in the fifth and a two-run blast by Mikie Mahtook an inning later.

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez (0-1) lasted 3 1/3 innings before being pulled. It was the first time in franchise history that the Blue Jays scored multiple runs in each of the first five innings.

Tampa Bay posted a pair of one-run victories over Toronto earlier this week. The finale of the four-game series goes Thursday night.

It's part of a 10-game homestand for the Blue Jays, who opened the regular season with a 4-2 road trip.

Notes: Bautista, Pompey, Travis and Souza Jr. all have two home runs apiece on the young season. Mahtook's homer was his first big-league hit. ... Ramirez gave up eight hits, seven earned runs and three walks. He had four strikeouts. ... All players wore No. 42 jerseys for Jackie Robinson Day. ... Canadian women's hockey team forward Caroline Ouellette threw out the first pitch. ... The game took three hours two minutes to play. ... Aaron Sanchez (0-1) will get the start for the Blue Jays on Thursday. The Rays will counter with fellow right-hander Chris Archer (1-1). ... The Atlanta Braves will visit Rogers Centre for a three-game series beginning Friday.

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