The Toronto Blue Jays have had enough of patched-up lineups, enough of David Price, and enough of baseball for a while.
Price scattered five hits in eight-plus innings to help the Tampa Bay Rays hand the Blue Jays their eighth loss in 10 games, 3-0 Sunday in the teams’ final game before the All-Star break.
“It’s an opportune time for us to push the rest button, for sure,” Toronto starter R.A. Dickey said. “Everybody’s inching back toward being healthy. This gives us four days.”
Price (9-7), who won his fourth consecutive start, was pulled after giving up a leadoff single in the ninth to Melky Cabrera. Cabrera moved up on a wild pitch by reliever Jake McGee to become the first Toronto runner in scoring position after the first inning.
“Everybody in baseball needs a break,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Everybody’s been battling it out, everybody’s worn-out tired, and we definitely need one.”
The Rays, who have won 11 of 15, got RBI singles from Logan Forsythe and Jose Molina. McGee got three outs for his seventh save.
Dickey (7-9) gave up two runs and five hits over six innings. Toronto has not won a road series against Tampa Bay since April, 2007, a span of 22 sets.
“Please don’t ask a question about the streak in Tampa,” Gibbons pleaded.
Despite their recent struggles, the Blue Jays’ 49 wins at the All-Star break are their most since 2006. A win Sunday would have given them 50 victories before the break for the first time since 1992, but they are a team in need of a break.
“Everybody wants to pick up the slack, especially when you lose [Brett] Lawrie, [Adam] Lind and [Edwin] Encarnacion, all big cogs in the engine of our offence,” Dickey said. “Hopefully when the second half rolls around, we’ll be able to take a deep breath and whatever it is we have to offer individually, we’ll bring that.”
The Rays took a 1-0 lead on a two-out single by Forsythe in the second. Tampa Bay went ahead 2-0 during the sixth thanks to a video replay. Yunel Escobar was thrown out trying to score from second by right fielder Jose Bautista on Molina’s two-out single, but the call was overturned.
Evan Longoria’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning made it 3-0.
The Blue Jays expect to get some of their injured players back after the break, but Gibbons doesn’t want to hear about that either. “We can’t worry about that,” he said. “This is our team right now. You’ve just got to show up to play every day.”