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TOR@TB: Bautista blasts homer No. 33

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays' much-maligned bullpen suffered another major blow on Thursday afternoon.

Toronto had two late-game opportunities to close things out but was unable to seal the deal against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The end finally came when Shawn Camp surrendered a walk-off single to Robinson Chirinos in the 12th inning of a dramatic 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay.

"I think any time you lose a game late those are tough to take," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "You work all day to put get yourself in a position, you present the position, and then it's not converted."

Toronto had a lead on three different occasions, but each time the club had trouble shutting the door on Tampa Bay's offense.

The Blue Jays led 2-0 after the first inning and maintained that cushion until the fifth. There also was a 4-3 lead in the 10th and a 6-4 advantage in the 11th.

Each time the Rays found a way to claw their way back into the game. Most of the blame will fall on the Blue Jays late-inning relief corps, which recorded two blown saves on the afternoon.

Toronto's bullpen has now failed to convert a league-high 19 save opportunities -- the club is just 23-for-42 in those situations this season.

"We put ourselves back into position to take the lead multiple times," Farrell said. "You have to give them credit, they continued to battle."

Camp initially got himself into trouble during the 12th after allowing a one-out triple to outfielder B.J. Upton. Toronto then opted to walk the bases loaded to set up the force play.

The Blue Jays reliever secured the second out of the inning by striking out Elliot Johnson before things unraveled. Chirinos sent a 2-1 pitch just past a diving Yunel Escobar at shortstop to give Tampa Bay its fifth extra-innings victory of the year.

"He was the one in trouble," Chirinos said of Camp. "He had to throw strikes. He threw the fastball and then a changeup, and it was a fastball, the one I hit. It was right there in the middle.

"You win and you see those smiles and everybody ... just a great feeling."

Toronto carried a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the 11th on the heels of a two-run triple off the bat of Jose Molina. Right-hander Jon Rauch took the mound and proceeded to allow the first two batters he faced to reach base.

Camp entered the 6-5 game with the tying run on second base before surrendering an RBI single to Chirinos.

The Blue Jays' first blown save came an inning earlier. Rauch was spotted a 4-3 lead thanks to an RBI double by Colby Rasmus, but the veteran reliever was unable to shut the door.

Toronto's closer, who suffered his fifth blown save in 15 opportunities, surrendered a solo homer to Desmond Jennings to even the score at 4.

It turned out to be another one of those difficult losses for the Blue Jays.

"We jump out quick, get a couple of runs and then not many opportunities for six straight," Farrell said. "Colby with a great swing against a power left-hander to put us ahead and then the see-saw back and forth in the extra-innings.

"That final out in three different innings was elusive."

Earlier in the game, Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil had very little difficulty getting through his first four innings. He allowed just one hit, and only one baserunner reached scoring position.

In the fifth, Evan Longoria came through for Tampa Bay with a three-run homer over the wall in left field. Longoria's 15th home run of the season snapped an 0-for-10 skid and put the Rays in front, 3-2.

That was the one pitch Cecil said he would have liked to have back.

"The pitch to Longoria really never should have happened," said Cecil, who allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. "It's more about pitch location than selection but at that point in the game, the way we pitched him before, I think an offspeed pitch would have been a better choice.

"But other than that I felt great. For the most part, kept the ball down. Changeup wasn't as great as it usually is but it got me a couple of swing and misses -- foul balls. That's about it, mainly fastball, slider today."

The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead in the first but were held scoreless until Jose Bautista tied the game at 3 with his 33rd home run in the eighth.

With the loss, Toronto missed an opportunity to win its third consecutive series. The club has now lost three of its past five games while the Rays have won two in a row. Comments