ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays are back in the AL East race and about to get a boost at the top of their lineup.
Jose Reyes, out since April 13 with a sprained left ankle, was activated Tuesday night after Toronto's 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. He will be in the lineup for Wednesday.
``I'm very excited about it,' the shortstop said. ``I missed two months of doing what I love to do and now I know I'm going to be on the field one more time around my team. The way they're playing, I want to be part of the success they're having right now.'
The loss was Toronto's second straight after 11 straight wins. To make a roster spot for Reyes, the Jays optioned shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, who took the demotion gracefully.
``I'm just one lucky guy to be able to play the game and play the game in this environment,' Kawasaki said through an interpreter. ``So I don't feel like I came up here to show anybody anything other than how much I love the game of baseball and I'll continue to do that. I feel like I'm just one lucky guy.'
Kawasaki has become a fan favorite, filling in admirably for Reyes.
``I love the guy. He's a great guy the way he handles his business,' said pitcher Mark Buehrle. ``On the other side we're getting Reyes back. We know what he brings to the table and hopefully he can kind of spark this team.'
Matt Moore overcame control problems to allow one run over six innings for the Rays. Moore (10-3) tied career highs with six walks and 11 strikeouts en route to his 10th win this season and second straight after a three-game skid. The left-hander gave up four hits.
Buehrle (4-5) gave up four runs, eight hits and four walks in five innings for the Blue Jays. By dropping the first two games of the three-game set, Toronto has not won a series at Tampa Bay since April 2007, a stretch of 19 series.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the third, but failed to score when Moore struck out Rajai Davis and Colby Rasmus. Toronto entered hitting .194 this season with the bases loaded.
``We got some guys on base, we worked some walks, but we just couldn't get the big hit,' said manager John Gibbons.
``I made a few pitches when I needed to and they put the ball in play. That's why this game is frustrating,' Buehrle said. ``You're missing your spots and then you make a pitch and they put the ball in play, whether it's a broken-bat base hit or finding a hole.
``I walked a guy, hit a guy and then there's two out and nobody on and you're in trouble. It's just frustrating all around.'
Rays relievers Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth and Jamey Wright completed the six-hitter.
Tampa Bay went ahead 4-1 in the fourth on consecutive sacrifice flies by Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist, and an RBI single from Myers
Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista almost threw out slow-footed catcher Jose Molina on Rodriguez's fly. After Zobrist hit his sac fly and Evan Longoria was intentionally walked, Myers completed the three-run outburst with his hit.
Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil entered in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar that ended his team record streak of not allowing a hit over his previous 40 at_bats. Kelly Johnson made it 5-1 later in the inning with a run-scoring grounder.
The Blue Jays struggled early in the season with and without Reyes. But they rolled into Tampa on a long winning streak and now welcome back their All-Star lead-off hitter.
``I felt bad when (the injury) happened to me,' he said. ``At that time we weren't playing too good. Now it's different. I'm very happy to be back again and playing with my boys.'
Gibbons said: ``He's one of those centerpieces of our team. Before he got hurt he was great. He was playing really well. He's been gone a while and now maybe he can put us over the top. We'll see.'
NOTES: Tampa Bay LHP David Price (left triceps) will make his second start for Class-A Charlotte on Wednesday night. ``What it's going to tell us is what the next step's going to be, what we have to do,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. The AL Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to throw around 70 pitches. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (left ankle) is expected to start a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday. ... Toronto RHP Sergio Santos (right triceps) threw off a bullpen mound . . . Blue Jays pitcher Ramon Ortiz (right elbow) was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The Associated Press News Service
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