TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays were one hit away from turning things around on Saturday.
But like so many other games in a season that has gone off the rails, Toronto's clutch moment never came as the Tampa Bay Rays held on for a 4-3 victory.
"We had our opportunities, especially late there, but we couldn't get that big one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Brett Lawrie walked with one out in the ninth and came around to score on an error by Rays closer Fernando Rodney, but the Blue Jays left runners at second and third when Adam Lind flied to centre.
"When you keep nibbling back and keep nibbling back and get within striking range and then you can't strike, it's frustrating," said Lawrie, who made an error on a throw from that led to a run in the Rays' three-run third inning.
The Blue Jays also had the bases loaded with none out in the eighth but couldn't get anything as Rays reliever Joel Peralta got a foul out and two strikeouts.
Tampa Bay got two RBIs from rookie right-fielder Wil Myers, while starter Jeremy Hellickson (9-3) won his fifth consecutive decision.
The Rays (57-41) have won the first two of the three-game series with the Blue Jays (45-51) and have taken 16 of their last 18.
Hellickson allowed five hits, including a home run by Jose Bautista, three walks and two runs in five innings for the Rays before left-hander Alex Torres took over in the sixth.
Hellickson said he was not feeling well on Saturday.
"After BP (Friday) I started getting a little light-headed and I threw up a little bit," he said. "I think it's going around, there's five or six of us who aren't feeling too well."
Hellickson is 7-1 over his past nine outings.
Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle (5-7) allowed 10 hits and four runs (three earned) in seven innings to take his second consecutive loss.
"Maybe we're overrated, maybe we're not as good as we thought we were," Buehrle said of a Jays team that was expected to contend for the World Series but instead sits last in the American League East.
-- The Canadian Press