Curt Casali led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking home run as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Jays 3-2 Saturday afternoon. The loss dropped Toronto to 10-19 in one-run games this season.
"You've got to win close games," said Jays manager John Gibbons. "You're not going to overpower everybody every night. Especially against this group playing in Tampa because they pitch. They keep bringing in guys that pitch. It's rare you have a lopsided game against them."
Casali's second homer of the season came on a 1-0 cutter from Toronto reliever Ryan Tepera (0-1).
"It was pretty cool," said Casali, who played his 14th game since being called up from the minors on June 13. "It definitely was not in my mind to do that. I'm just trying to get on base any way I can."
Kevin Jepsen (2-5) pitched the seventh to pick up the win for Tampa Bay. Jake McGee threw a clean ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.
The Blue Jays have lost 15 of their past 24 games despite outscoring the opposition 138-124 over that span. They are 10-39 in games in which they score five runs or fewer.
Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed four hits and one run while striking out four in 4 2/3 innings.
R.A. Dickey allowed four hits, one walk and one run in six innings and had four strikeouts for Toronto (46-47). Dickey hasn't won in five starts since June 18.
"He pitched great, he really did," said Gibbons. "He gave us what we needed. You get a start like that from anybody, you'll take it. They were good on the other side too."
Dickey is suffering from a lack of run support. Despite the Jays being the highest scoring team in the majors this season, they've only averaged 3.7 runs per game in Dickey's 19 starts. He left with a 2-1 lead Saturday but the no decision kept his record at 3-10.
"It's been a peculiar year in that regard but I've been feeling really good since early June," Dickey said. "It was a little bit hot but I feel like my last inning was my best inning with the top of the order. I felt good but I was also facing the lineup for the third time through."
Dickey said he had no explanation for the Jays losses in close games.
"I would have to sit down and look at it a little more deeply," he said. "Obviously, we're giving up one more than they are. I don't know how else to say it, it's as simple as you can say it. You would like to say it will even out but we have to do something about that."
Jose Bautista led off the sixth with his 18th of the season — a drive to the third deck in left field to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. It was short lived as Tampa Bay's Brandon Guyer replied with a homer to tie the game in the seventh.
The Rays (47-46) opened the scoring in the third. Dickey started the inning by walking Tim Beckham on four pitches. He then balked, which advanced Beckham to second. Beckham scored on a ground-rule double to right by John Jaso.
The Blue Jays tied the game at one in the bottom of the fifth after doubles by Kevin Pillar and rookie Devon Travis.
Notes — RHP Marco Estrada (6-5, 3.52 earned-run average) will start the series finale Sunday for the Blue Jays against Rays RHP Chris Archer (9-6, 2.74 ERA). Archer is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in three starts against Toronto this season. … Announced attendance was 41,583.