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Location dooms Hellickson, Rays in loss to Toronto

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jeremy Hellickson missed his spots and paid the price.

Jose Reyes hit a three-run homer, R.A. Dickey gave up two hits in seven innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Hellickson and the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 Tuesday night.

Hellickson (1-3) gave up five runs on eight hits in 3 1-3 innings, the shortest of his nine starts since coming back from January elbow surgery.

“I think it was a matter of locating the ball to some spots that were better suited for the Blue Jays than us,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

Hellickson says he feels fine physically.

“It’s just frustrating,” he said.

Hellickson is 0-2 with a 6.16 ERA over his last four starts.

Reyes’ ninth home run broke a 2-all in the fourth inning and sent the Blue Jays to their third win in a row.

Danny Valencia also homered off Hellickson. Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro added a two-run shot off Cesar Ramos in the eighth.

Jose Bautista’s streak of homering in five straight games ended, but he had two singles and an RBI for Toronto.

Dickey (11-12) gave up two runs, struck out six and walked three.

“From a movement standpoint I had a really good knuckleball tonight, and it was tough to control it,” Dickey said.

“Sometimes I hit a couple batters, balls were really tailing off late in the zone, which speaks to how many balls they put into play hard – not many, which is good,” he said.

Dickey pitched at least six innings for the 13th time in 14 starts. Aaron Sanchez and Todd Redmond each pitched an inning of hitless relief.

The Rays got both of their hits and runs in the second. Yunel Escobar scored the second run on Kevin Kiermaier’s sacrifice fly caught by Reyes, the shortstop, in short left field.

A win on Wednesday or Thursday night would give the Blue Jays their first series victory at Tropicana Field since April 6-8, 2007.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: INF Brett Lawrie (oblique) was transferred from the 15- to 60-day disabled list, which ends his regular season. … RHP Brandon Morrow (finger) and 1B Dan Johnson (hamstring) were activated from the disabled list. … LHP Brett Cecil was unavailable due to some minor stiffness.

Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (sore left knee) was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game.

FIRST PITCH

Former Blue Jays pitcher and one-time Rays bat boy Jesse Litsch threw the ceremonial first pitch. The St. Petersburg native, who announced his retirement last month, went 27-27 over parts of five seasons with Toronto.

SLIDING RAYS

Tampa Bay (67-72) has lost 11 of 17 since reaching .500 after dropping 18 games under the break-even mark. The Rays need to go 15-8 to have their seventh consecutive winning season.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Chris Archer (8-7) and Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (8-5) are Wednesday night’s scheduled starters. Archer is coming off a loss to Boston on Friday in which he gave up a season-high eight runs in four innings.