ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays are putting a major league-worst 1-8 start behind them.
Denard Span drove in his team-leading 24th run to help the surging Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Saturday night.
Jake Faria (3-1) allowed a run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Rays got their 11th victory in 14 games to improve to 15-16. Alex Colome, the fourth Tampa Bay reliever, got five outs for his sixth save.
"I don't think anybody is settled with .500 but we've got to get there first," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays chased Aaron Sanchez (2-3) in the fourth, taking a 4-1 lead on Span's single and a sacrifice fly by Matt Duffy. Span's 24 RBIs have come in 90 at-bats.
"A lot of participation by a lot of people," Cash said.
Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. each homered for the Blue Jays, who have lost eight of 12.
Sanchez, who entered 1-0 with an 0.86 ERA in three starts at Tropicana Field, gave up four runs, five hits, four walks and had three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
"I think my release point was a little off," Sanchez said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons has called Tropicana Field a "house of horrors" for the Blue Jays, who have dropped the first two of a three-game series and have a 72-106 overall record at the ballpark. Toronto had a stretch from 2007-14 where it had 21 consecutive non-winning road series against the Rays.
Gibbons was ejected by plate umpire CB Bucknor after the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes.
"That eighth inning, I think there were some calls," Gibbons said. "In the heart of the competition, I thought maybe a couple calls didn't help us out. But I've been known to whine, too."
Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single in the third that put Tampa Bay up 2-0.
The Rays' initial run scored in the first, an inning that saw Sanchez walk three, when second baseman Gurriel misplayed Ramos' two-out grounder.
Hernandez hit a solo homer in the fourth and Gurriel went deep during a two-run eighth off Sergio Romo. Hernandez drove in his second run with a run-scoring single after Gurriel's homer.
Colome replaced Romo with one out and retired all five batters he faced.
"He looks like classic Colome," Faria said.
C.J. Cron made it 5-3 on a sacrifice fly later in the eighth.
Blue Jays: OF Curtis Granderson, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, will have his status re-evaluated Tuesday.
Rays: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right elbow surgery) will go two innings or 35 pitches in his second rehab start with Class A Charlotte. He went one inning and 17 pitches Friday.
Toronto recalled OF Anthony Alford from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned RHP Jake Petricka to the IL club.
Rays two-way prospect Brendan McKay struck out nine in 4 2/3 scoreless innings Friday night for Class A Bowling Green against Burlington, then hit his first homer of the season Saturday. He has a 1.45 ERA over 18 2/3 innings and was hitting .265 with 10 RBIs through 16 games before Saturday.
Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer (2-2) and Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada (2-2) are Sunday's starters. Archer is just 7-4 against Toronto despite allowing three of fewer runs in 21 of 24 starts.
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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press