Matt Duffy saved his best for last.
Duffy’s ground ball found a hole between third and short with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday and drove in the game’s only run in Tampa Bay’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
”After seeing that many zeroes http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tanner-lee-jersey , it’s definitely awesome to come out on top in that game,” Duffy said after a game in which eight pitchers gave up a total of 10 hits.
Duffy drove in Mallex Smith, who doubled with one out and moved to third base on a groundout.
Diego Castillo (1-0) got his first major league win after pitching two innings of relief.
Ryan Tepera (3-2) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for the Jays, who were swept in the three-game series and have lost five of six to the Rays this season. It was the 12th time the Blue Jays have scored one run or none this season, and the first time since August 2011 they were held without an extra-base hit for a second straight game.
”I have no explanation for it. It’s the way it is,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Curtis Granderson had the first three of Toronto’s five hits, leadoff singles in the first, third and fifth innings, and was the only runner to reach third base until Smith in the ninth.
With two outs in the Toronto ninth http://www.bearsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-anthony-miller-jersey , Aldemys Diaz hit a line drive off Castillo that was caught by left fielder Johnny Field near the top of the wall, the best-hit ball of the game by far.
”Luckily, I was playing deep and it was high enough that it didn’t seem like one of those no-doubters off the bat,” Field said. ”He got under it just enough to give me a chance to get back there.”
Toronto starter J.A. Happ allowed one hit and three walks in five innings. He was lifted after throwing 98 pitches, 30 in the first inning.
”I try to give credit where credit is due. I thought they did a good job of fouling some good pitches off,” said Happ. ”They made it difficult. Certainly, I’d like to go more than five innings, but I was happy to keep them off the board.”
Rays starter Wilmer Font gave up two hits in 3 1/3 innings, and Matt Andriese gave up two hits in 3 2/3 innings.
”That’s two days in a row now that the bullpen came in and really picked us up in a big way Denzel Ward Color Rush Jersey ,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. ”They pieced it together really well.”
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) will run the bases Thursday and if all goes well could join Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) was scheduled to start a minor league assignment Wednesday night with Class A Dunedin against Charlotte.
Rays: OF Johnny Field was back in the lineup after missing two games with a sprained knee.
SIXTEEN NOT SO SWEET
Thursday’s game at New York marks the start of a 16-game stretch in which the Rays will play only the Yankees, Astros and Nationals. ”We’re going to really see what kind of team we have here against the best in the league,” Blake Snell said. The Rays are 11-26 against winning teams.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.33 ERA) will pitch Friday night against the Washington Nationals in the opening game of a five-game homestand.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30 ERA) will start in Thursday night’s opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against Domingo German (0-4, 5.32). Snell is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his past four starts.
Steve Clifford was there the last time the Orlando Magic were a playoff contender.
He’s being asked to make them one again.
Clifford was announced Wednesday as the new coach of the Magic, a team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last six years. Clifford – who spent the last five seasons as coach of the Charlotte Hornets – was an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s Magic staff for five years, including during the team’s most recent playoff run in 2012.
”I’ve had 18 great years in this league and I’ve enjoyed every year, but none more than the five years here http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-vinny-curry-jersey ,” Clifford said.
Magic president Jeff Weltman said the team used a ”deliberate approach” and took its time, but insisted that the franchise made the right hire.
”We are very excited to welcome Steve back into the Magic family,” Weltman said. ”Steve is widely regarded throughout the NBA community as an elite coach and developer of players at all stages. His teams have always been disciplined and prepared, and have embraced the concept of playing for each other.”
Clifford is replacing Frank Vogel, who was let go after two seasons. Clifford, who missed 21 games this past season while dealing with severe headaches brought on by sleep deprivation, was fired by Charlotte at the end of this season after going 196-214.
Hiring Clifford is easily the biggest move made so far by Weltman. He took over the club a year ago after the team fired Rob Hennigan and ended his five-year run that never got on solid footing.
Weltman made the decision after this season to part with Vogel, who was a proven winner in Indiana but simply didn’t have a playoff-caliber roster in Orlando.
Neither does Clifford, at this point anyway. It will take more than a coaching change to improve Orlando’s fortunes.
”The old saying in the NBA http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-b.j.-hill-jersey , and it’s so true, is you never know a player until you coach them,” Clifford said. ”I’m going to start to try and establish the right kind of relationships with these guys tomorrow, or tonight. I want to be able to impact each one of these guys in the right way.”
Clifford was ousted in Charlotte after a front-office shakeup. Owner Michael Jordan fired general manager Rich Cho and eventually hired Mitch Kupchak to replace him in April. Kupchak fired Clifford not long afterward.
The Hornets went to the playoffs twice in Clifford’s five seasons, never winning a series.
”The NBA isn’t about winning – the NBA is about winning in the playoffs,” Clifford said at the end of Charlotte’s season.
Clifford is coming to a franchise that has lost more games than any NBA club over the past six years, 335. That’s four more than Philadelphia, a franchise that was openly tanking for years before turning things around this season.
The Magic weren’t tanking. They’ve just been bad.
Orlando hasn’t had longer than a five-game winning streak at any time over the last six seasons. But over that same span, the Magic have had 23 losing streaks of at least five games. On their way to a 25-57 record that left them 18 games out of a playoff spot Chris Herndon Color Rush Jersey , the Magic had two seven-game slides and two other nine-game skids.
Since Van Gundy left, the Magic have gone through a series of resets.
There have been 62 players in uniform over the last six seasons – none an All-Star while in Orlando – and now five coaches. Van Gundy was replaced by Jacque Vaughn, who was let go after 2 1/2 seasons and replaced on an interim basis by James Borrego. Scott Skiles then took over for one year, and Vogel ran things the last two seasons.
Weltman said Clifford is the one who can stop the revolving-door look to the coach’s office.
”I think it’s crucial,” Weltman said. ”Fifth coach in seven years, it’s very important that we start to establish our identity and be able to build on something that doesn’t get turned over every season.”