J.P. Arencibia's two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Fernando Rodney gave last-place Toronto an 8-7 victory over Tampa Bay.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Down seven runs, Toronto easily could have conceded another disappointing loss. Instead, the struggling Blue Jays chipped away until they found a way to pull off their biggest comeback in nearly six years.

J.P. Arencibia hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Fernando Rodney, giving the last-place team an 8-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night.

“I think this game kind of evens itself out and if guys keep coming with positive attitudes and keep coming ready to work, it’s going to turn. That’s the way this game is, and you’ve got to continue to stay positive and come ready to play every day,” Arencibia said after the Blue Jays won for just the fourth time in 14 games.

The last time Toronto rallied from at least seven runs down to win was June 5, 2007, when it overcame an 8-1 margin to beat Tampa Bay 12-11, according to STATS.

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Tampa Bay last lost a lead of at least seven runs was May 25, 2009, when Cleveland came back from a 10-0 deficit to win 11-10, STATS said.

This time, Evan Longoria hit his third career grand slam as Tampa Bay built a 7-0 lead that Jeremy Hellickson and four Rays relievers failed to protect before a season-low crowd of 9,952 at Tropicana Field.

Colby Rasmus and Mark DeRosa also hit two-run homers for Toronto.

“In a lot of ways we were due, but you don’t expect it to happen that way,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

A-Rod back on field

TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez was back on the field for the first time since surgery on his left hip almost four months ago.

He joined a group of injured New York Yankees starters at the team’s minor-league complex. The 37-year-old third baseman ran, played catch and hit off a tee.

Rodriguez said it’s “like being 8 years old again when I first grabbed a bat.”

Rodriguez had surgery Jan. 16 and could return to the Yankees after the All-Star break.

“I have a lot of unfinished business,” said Rodriguez, who struggled offensively late last season.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson, first baseman Mark Teixeira, corner infielder Kevin Youkilis, and catcher Francisco Cervelli are also rehabbing injuries in Florida. Shortstop Derek Jeter is also on the disabled list with a broken ankle.


• Philadelphia placed RHP Roy Halladay, their two-time Cy Young Award winner, on the 15-day disabled list with an injured right shoulder. Halladay is 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA in seven starts.

• White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd will have elbow surgery Tuesday and be out 14 to 19 months. He will have the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle repaired. Floyd was 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts.

• Atlanta activated Brian McCann off the DL, completing the catcher’s comeback from surgery on his throwing shoulder last October. The six-time All-Star started and went 0 for 4 against Cincinnati.

• Former outfielder Otis Nixon, 54, was arrested on drug charges after a weekend traffic stop in suburban Atlanta. Officers found a pipe for smoking crack cocaine in Nixon’s pants pocket and found a suspected crack rock in the driver’s seat.

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