SPORTS

Marcos Estrada continues strong season as Blue Jays beat Rays to win series

07/19/2015 03:52 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Marco Estrada offers a change of pace for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Moved from the bullpen to bolster the starting rotation early in May, the right-hander has provided innings and excellence for the Jays this season.

Estrada was at it again Sunday, using his changeup effectively in facing only one batter above the minimum over eight innings as Toronto shutout the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0.

"He (Estrada) was as good as you could be tonight," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's got that knack of making that big pitch, getting that big out when you have to have it. He's very composed. You can't rattle him. He's got that equalizing pitch, that changeup. That's the pitch that got him to the big leagues. That's the difference maker for him. He'll use it at any time.

Chris Colabello and Jose Bautista each hit two-run homers to make sure Estrada's effort was not in vain as Toronto finally figured out a way to beat Rays starter Chris Archer.

Estrada (7-5) held Tampa to three hits with no walks and five strikeouts to win for the sixth time in his past eight starts.

"I don't think I located as well in the first few innings whereas as the game kept going I started locating a little better," Estrada said. "It was just one of those days, hopefully you throw the ball down, keep it down and elevate it when you need to and then hopefully the changeup is there and the defence was great today."

Estrada has had previous success against the Rays. He took a perfect game into the eighth against them on June 24, but didn't factor in the decision.

Logan Forsythe's single with one out in the eighth was Estrada's first runner since the third inning.

Archer (9-7) allowed five hits, one walk and two runs while striking out six in seven innings. Archer won his first three starts against the Jays this season with a 0.54 earned-run average. In the right-hander's 12 career starts against them before Sunday, he was 5-1 with a 2.51 earned-run average.

"The big thing was to beat Archer," Gibbons said. "He's been a nemesis of ours."

Colabello gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the fifth with his ninth homer of the season. He hit an 0-1 slider to left to score Justin Smoak, who had singled with one out.

Brandon Gomes replaced Archer in the eighth and walked Josh Donaldson before giving up Bautista's 19th homer of the season. It was Bautista's second home run in as many days.

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for Toronto, allowing one hit and striking out three.

Toronto climbed back to .500 at 47-47 — the same record as the Rays — with the series win.

Notes — Toronto has Monday off before visiting the Oakland Athletics for a three-game series starting Tuesday. LHP Mark Buehrle (10-5, 3.34 earned-run average) will start the opener against Oakland. Former Blue Jays prospect RHP Kendall Graveman (6-5, 3.38 ERA) counters for the A's. …RHP Aaron Sanchez (right lat strain) is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays and will be used as a reliever after his second rehabilitation outing with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. Manager John Gibbons said he will be put in the bullpen because it is an area that needs bolstering. …Announced attendance at Rogers Centre was 41,683.

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