TORONTO (AP) - The best stretch of Brandon Morrow's career came to a sudden end Monday night.
Morrow gave up six runs, five unearned, in a game-changing fifth inning, and saw his career-best four-start winning streak snapped and the Toronto Blue Jays lost 7-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
That was a tough fifth,' Morrow said. ``Made some pitches to get out of it and then they kind of went out and got some good fastballs that were a touch off the plate. A couple of good pieces of hitting there, I guess, and (they) broke it open.'
Morrow (4-2) allowed four hits and matched a season high with four walks in five innings, the first time in eight starts this season that he's failed to work at least six innings.
The right-hander hadn't lost since April 18, when he gave up six runs, including a season-high three homers, in a 12-2 defeat to the Rays. In the four starts that followed, Morrow went 4-0 with an 0.65 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 2-3 innings.
Morrow looked as if he might continue his run early on, holding the Rays hitless through the first four innings.
``When he is putting the ball on the corners and really pitching, like he did early, there's really nothing we can do,' Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist said. ``He was doing a phenomenal job.'
It all fell apart in the fifth. Will Rhymes led off with a double, took third on a fly out by Chris Gimenez and scored on Elliot Johnson's single. Zobrist grounded into a fielder's choice and B.J. Upton walked before Matt Joyce reached when a diving Lind couldn't handle Joyce's hard grounder, allowing Zobrist to score from second. Carlos Pena reached on a dropped third strike, loading the bases for Luke Scott, who lined a two-run single to left. Sean Rodriguez capped it with a two-run double to right-center.
``On a night when you're down a little bit offensively, that's where the pitching and defense has got to pick some things up,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ``That wasn't the case tonight.'
Lind's error in the fifth was his second of the night: he also dropped Upton's foul pop up in the first.
Cesar Ramos got his first career victory after replacing injured starter Jeff Niemann, who fractured his right leg when he was hit by Lind's comebacker in the first. Niemann is expected to miss four to six weeks, forcing the Rays to find another replacement for an already injury-filled lineup.
``It's tough, a lot of adversity right now,' Zobrist said. ``We're just trying to keep nine bodies on the field.'
Before the game, the Rays put outfielder Desmond Jennings (left knee) on the 15-day disabled list. Once Niemann joins him, the Rays will have eight players sidelined with injuries, a list that also includes slugging third baseman Evan Longoria (torn left hamstring), closer Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow), catcher Robinson Chirinos (concussion) and outfielder Sam Fuld (right wrist).
``We've been bitten a little bit to this point,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ``We're constantly having our depth tested.'
Niemann warmed up for the second but was unable to continue, with the left-handed Ramos brought on to replace him after a mound conference involving Maddon and the trainer.
Ramos (1-0) allowed one run and two hits in three innings, walked three and struck out three, to win for the first time in 80 career appearances.
Wade Davis pitched two innings, J.P Howell and Burke Badenhop each worked one inning and Jake McGee finished in the ninth.
Zobrist led off the ninth with a first-pitch homer to right, his sixth.
Kelly Johnson drove in Toronto's only run with a two-out single off Ramos in the second.
Notes: Toronto has lost six of nine following a season-long four-game winning streak. ... The Rays recalled C/OF Stephen Vogt from Triple-A Durham to replace Jennings, whose DL stint is retroactive to May 12. ``(Jennings) is not getting worse, he's just not getting better,' Maddon said. ... Toronto optioned RH Joel Carreno to Double-A New Hampshire and recalled LH Evan Crawford from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Blue Jays RH Sergio Santos (right shoulder) is throwing from 90 feet on flat ground at the team's Florida facility. Santos, out since April 21, will progress to 150 feet before he resumes throwing off the mound. ... The Rays signed 1B Ryan Garko to a minor league contract. Garko, who had been playing in the independent Atlantic League, will report to Double-A Montgomery. He last played in the majors with Texas in 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
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