ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Despite home runs by Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar and another strong start from J.A. Happ, the Toronto Blue Jays couldn't get an out in the ninth inning and lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
"Sooner or later you've got to win some close games, for crying out loud," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Curt Casali delivered a walkoff single for the Rays in an inning started by Brad Miller's pinch-hit infield single. After Miller beat pitcher Brett Cecil and first baseman Justin Smoak to the bag, Kevin Kiermaier followed with a double before Casali's hit off Cecil (0-5).
"He's a quick runner. Obviously he beat it out," Cecil said. "As much as I fall off to the third base side, it's tough for me to get over there."
"We didn't get an out, plain and simple," Gibbons said. "Cecil falls off naturally but he's still got to get there and I thought Smoak had a shot at it too."
Cecil has five of the Blue Jays' 14 losses.
"I'm throwing the ball well. I'm not going to sit in my locker and pout about it," he said. "Relievers have got to have short memories and ... I do have a short memory. There's nothing to be upset about. I obviously don't want to lose ball games, but that's the way this game is."
Logan Forsythe went 3 for 3 with a walk for the Rays and tied the game in the seventh with a home run off Happ, his fourth of the season.
Xavier Cadeno (2-0) got the win after retiring two Blue Jays in the ninth.
Bautista's two-run home run off Chris Archer gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead in the third. It was Bautista's fifth homer of the season.
Forsythe's two-out single got the Rays on the board in the third and Evan Longoria tied it 2-2 by hitting Happ's first pitch of the sixth inning for his fourth home run.
Pillar's first homer regained a 3-2 lead for the Blue Jays, who have lost four of five.
Happ, who has seven straight quality starts and a 1.87 ERA in 15 starts dating to August, pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and three runs while striking out seven.
"I thought he was great," Gibbons said. "He had great stuff tonight and he pitched like he's been doing all year. He deserved to win a game like that."
The Blue Jays had only three hits. They have 10 hits, including six home runs, in the first two games of the series.
Moving Michael Saunders into the leadoff spot and moving Pillar out of it has paid off for both. Saunders is hitting .333 in 10 games as a leadoff hitter and Pillar, who batted .188 in 12 games as a leadoff man, has hit .364 in 12 games since being dropped in the order.
Archer's four strikeouts set a franchise record of 43 for April, exceeding David Price's 41 in 2014. ... Forsythe has been on base in 12 of his last 17 plate appearances and is hitting .388 in his last 11 games. ... Pillar's homer was his first in 121 at-bats. He had his fourth multi-hit game in in his last seven.
Rays: RHP Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) threw a bullpen session. After one more session in two or three days, he expects to throw live batting practice. ... RHP Alex Cobb, who threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session, is still months from pitching in his recovery from Tommy John surgery on May 14, 2015.
RHP Marcus Stroman, who beat the Rays on opening day four weeks ago, will pitch the series finale for Toronto against RHP Jake Odorizzi, who has allowed one earned run or fewer in 20 of his 33 starts at Tropicana Field.