by Steve Carney
The Toronto Blue Jays used a pair of home runs to take an early lead, and a pair of single to regain it late, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Friday in Dunedin.
The Rays initially took an early lead, as Desmond Jennings led off the game with a walk off Mark Buehrle, and moved to third base on a single by Matt Joyce two batters later. Sheeley Duncan then appeared to roll into a double play, but Emilio Bonifacio's throw to first was errant, and Jennings was able to score for a 1-0 lead.
Toronto took their first lead of the game in the second inning, as J.P. Arencibia smacked a single in front of Brett Lawrie, who launched a giant home run to centerfield off starter Jake Odorizzi. Ricardo Nanita added a solo shot later in the inning to make it a 3-1 lead.
Tampa Bay evened the contest in the fifth, as Jennings led off the inning with a single and stole both second and third base before Sean Rodriguez lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 3-2. Two batters later, Shelley Duncan blasted his first homer of the spring, a solo shot to make it 3-3.
After Chris Archer kept Toronto off the scoreboard for three innings, the Jays broke the tie for good in the sixth, thanks to RBI singles by Andy LaRoche and Adam Loewen off Mike Montgomery.
The Rays got back-to-back doubles by Jason Bourgeois and Stephen Vogt to get back to within a run, but couldn't get any closer.
Tampa Bay will return to Port Charlotte for the weekend to welcome in first the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, then the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Alex Cobb is scheduled to start Saturday, and David Price will get the nod Sunday. Both games will start at 1:05, with coverage each day on 620 WDAE starting at 1:00.