Cesar Ramos got his first career win after replacing the injured Jeff Niemann, and Ben Zobrist homered and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 on Monday night. Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez each had two RBIs for the Rays, who have won two straight after losing six of their previous seven.
The Rays had to go to their bullpen early, with Niemann knocked out after he was struck on the right foot by Adam Lind's grounder in the first. The right-hander recovered to make the out but walked gingerly around the mound and was checked by the trainer before finishing the inning. Niemann warmed up for the second but was unable to continue, with the left-handed Ramos brought on to replace him after a conference on the mound involving the trainer and Rays manager Joe Maddon.
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.
Tampa Bay broke it open with a six-run fifth, taking advantage of an error by Lind to score five unearned runs off Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow (4-2), who came in having won his past four starts and didn't allow a hit through the first four innings.
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 Scott, who lined a two-run single to left. Rodriguez capped it with a two-run double to right-center.
Lind's error in the fifth was his second of the night: he also dropped Upton's foul pop up in the first.
Toronto's struggling first baseman, who came in batting .189, was bumped back to the cleanup spot after being dropped to eighth last week because he came in 13 for 28 with three homers in his career against Niemann.
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: Niemann was taken to a hospital for X-rays. ... Toronto has lost six of nine following a season-long four-game winning streak. ... The Rays placed OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 12, and recalled C/OF Stephen Vogt from Triple-A Durham ... 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.