TORONTO (AP) Tyler Alexander took a perfect game bid into the eighth inning before Danny Jansen blooped an opposite-field, one-out single, and the Tampa Bay Rays hung on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Friday night.

Richie Palacios hit a two-run home run as the Rays built a 4-0 lead and hung on for their 10th win in 14 games.

“He was mixing it up, spotting it up,” Palacios said of Alexander. “That was awesome.”

Tampa Bay has won five of its past six series openers.

“Winning the first one definitely leaves a statement that we’re here to play good baseball,” Lowe said.

Alexander (2-2) retired his first 22 batters before Jansen hit a 1-0 changeup near the low, outside corner off the end of his bat. The ball landed cleanly 206 feet from the plate, between right fielder Josh Lowe and Palacios at second.

“He blooped it in perfectly,” Lowe said.

Alexander gave up a season-high six runs, including three home runs, in his previous start, but Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt said he knew early Friday that Alexander had good stuff.

“In the bullpen I could tell he was feeling it,” Rortvedt said. “He was throwing all his pitches to all quadrants of the zone.”

Alexander said he knew what was at stake as he got deeper into the game.

“I was very aware of what I was doing,” Alexander said. “I was just trying not to over-try, I guess. Just trying to stay within myself.”

The single came on Alexander’s 97th pitch. Davis Schneider homered two pitches later, cutting Toronto’s deficit to 4-2, and Daulton Varsho singled on Alexander’s 105th and final pitch, three more than Alexander’s previous career high.

“That was a really impressive outing,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Happy for him.”

Alexander needed 23 pitches to get through the seventh inning, going to three-ball counts on all three batters. He struck out four and walked none in his seventh start and ninth appearance this season.

“As the game went on, I think he got better,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said of Alexander. “ He was really locating in, out, up, down.”

Lowe had gone down on one knee to make a sliding catch on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s sinking liner for the second out of the sixth.

A 29-year-old in his sixth major league season, Alexander does not have a complete game in 49 major league starts. His previous high for innings was seven.

Right-hander Matt Garza threw the only no-hitter in Rays history, beating Detroit 5-0 at Tropicana Field on July 26, 2010.

Manuel Rodríguez replaced Alexander (2-2) and pinch hitter Daniel Vogelbach reached on a fielder’s choice, with Varsho advancing to third on Díaz’s errant throw.

Pinch-hitter Cavan Biggio pulled Toronto within a run with an RBI single off Manuel Rodríguez, and George Springer grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Pete Fairbanks pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Isaac Paredes walked three times to extend his career-best streak of reaching safely to 16 games.

Tampa Bay scored three runs in the sixth. Randy Arozarena doubled and came home on a throwing error by Guerrero at first. Paredes walked and Palacios hit a two-run homer off Chris Bassitt, his fourth.

Díaz had an RBI single in the seventh.

Bassitt (3-6) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has lost four of his past five starts.


Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (strained right oblique) will play at Triple-A Durham this weekend and could rejoin the team as early as Monday, Cash said.

Blue Jays: 1B Joey Votto (right ankle) has started facing live pitching, Schneider said. Votto injured his ankle during spring training in March and has not played since.


Rays RHP Zach Eflin (3-4, 3.91 ERA) seeks a third consecutive victory when he faces the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.95) starts for Toronto.



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