Justin Smoak hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, Josh Donaldson added two solo blasts and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Thursday.
Smoak hit a two-run drive off Tommy Hunter (2-4), his 33rd, as the Blue Jays took three of four from the Rays to remain on the fringes of the AL wild card race. Toronto is 10-5 in August.
Smoak went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
Donaldson connected twice against Rays right-hander Chris Archer, hitting solo shots in the first and fifth innings. It was his 13th career multi-homer game and third this season. The homers were his 19th and 20th.
Donaldson leads the AL with 10 first-inning home runs this season, one ahead of Houston’s George Springer.
The 2015 AL MVP, Donaldson homered four times in the four-game series, including a two-run shot in Monday’s opener and a three-run blast Tuesday. He has 11 home runs over his past 19 games.
Dominic Leone (3-0) got the win despite surrendering Evan Longoria‘s game-tying double in the top of the eighth.
Roberto Osuna wrapped it up for his 32nd save in 39 chances.
Leading 1-0 on Donaldson’s first homer, the Blue Jays doubled their advantage in the third when Darwin Barney reached on a wild third strike and scored on Smoak’s RBI single.
Mallex Smith cut it to 2-1 with an RBI triple in the fourth but Donaldson restored the two-run cushion with a first-pitch drive the following inning.
Archer allowed three runs in seven innings and is winless in three starts.
Blue Jays right-hander Chris Rowley, the first West Point graduate to play in the major leagues, allowed two runs in five-plus innings. Rowley beat Pittsburgh in his debut last Saturday.
Archer struck out Miguel Montero in the fourth to reach 1,000 for his career. Archer, who finished with 10 strikeouts, reached the mark in his 154th start.
Rays RHP Alex Cobb (right big toe) threw a bullpen session at Tropicana Field on Wednesday. Cobb is set to throw off the mound again Friday and could return next week. … OF Kevin Kiermaier (right hip) will play one more rehab game at Class-A Charlotte Thursday and could rejoin the team Friday.
Rays RHP Auston Pruitt (6-3, 5.07) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Seattle. Former Ray RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-4, 4.73) starts for the Mariners. Pruitt pitched in relief in his only prior appearance against Seattle, replacing Ramirez in a June 4 loss.
Republished with permission from the Associated Press.