3/21/2013 3:46 P.M. ET
Bautista, Rasmus each go deep to lift Blue Jays
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Blue Jays had only two everyday starters in their lineup Thursday against the Rays, but both Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista hit solo homers -- along with Eugenio Velez -- lifting Toronto to a 3-1 victory.
Only Rasmus' came against Rays starter Roberto Hernandez, who made his sixth spring appearance and is engaged in a battle with Jeff Niemann to claim the No. 5 spot in Tampa Bay's rotation. He did not do anything Thursday to adversely affect that pursuit, throwing six innings and allowing only three hits.
The veteran right-hander held the Blue Jays scoreless for the first four innings before Rasmus homered to start the fifth. That was all the Blue Jays could muster against Hernandez, although Bautista scored the winning run with a seventh-inning homer against Jamey Wright, and Velez homered against Joel Peralta, charging him with his first run of the spring.
Brett Cecil pitched the Blue Jays out of a jam in the third, taking over for starter Claudio Vargas with two on and two out to face Evan Longoria.
The left-hander, who is out of options on his contract and has a chance to make the Blue Jays as a long reliever, struck out Longoria swinging to end the threat.
Cecil also worked around trouble in the fourth, finishing 2 1/3 innings with one hit allowed, one walk and four strikeouts.
The Rays' only run came after Longoria led off the sixth with a double. Manager Joe Maddon lifted his third baseman in favor of pinch-runner Ryan Roberts, who advanced to third when Toronto right-hander Ramon Ortiz walked the bases loaded and scored on a James Loney single.
Up next for the Blue Jays: J.A. Happ will make his sixth appearance of the spring Friday, when he starts against the Red Sox in Dunedin, Fla. Alfredo Aceves will start for the Red Sox, and the game will be available on bluejays.com via an exclusive webcast.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.