The Rays lost for an MLB-high 11th time while allowing two runs or less Friday in dropping a 2-1 game to the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay outhit Toronto 10-4 in the contest, but could muster only a single run, that coming when Desmond Jennings homered in the third.
The Rays had pinch-runner Elliot Johnson cut down at home plate for the final out of the game. They’ve now lost 11 of their last 12 one-run games.
Brandon Morrow was the winning pitcher for the Jays tonight in his second start back from a strained oblique. He allowed one run on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings and struck out five.
Jeremy Hellickson fell to 8-10 despite allowing just two runs in six innings. The Jays got their runs on solo homers from Moises Sierra and Edwin Encarnacion.
Tampa Bay has scored more than two runs in just one of Hellickson’s 10 losses. They’ve scored three runs or fewer in 17 of his 25 starts.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.