Blue Jays Salvage Four-Game Series in Tampa with a Split, Defeat Rays 6-4
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, August 24, 2020
Randal Grichuk’s three-run home run in the seventh inning was the difference on Monday afternoon, carrying the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The home run was Grichuk’s seventh of the year, launching a ball off of Rays reliever Aaron Loup to left field.
After a Santiago Espinal walk, and Cavan Biggio reaching base on catcher interference, both with two outs, Grichuk gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the game.
Biggio recorded his 16th RBI of the year in the ninth inning, after hitting a double to drive in Espinal from second, extending Toronto’s lead to 6-4.
With the win, Toronto (14-13) manages to split the four game series against the Rays, after losing the last two games on Saturday and Sunday.
2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell got the start for the Rays (19-11) and was pulled by manager Kevin Cash in the sixth inning after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a two-out solo home run to cut into the Tampa Bay lead, making it a 3-2 game.
The home run was Gurriel Jr.’s second career hit against the left-handed pitcher, with both of them being homers.
It took Snell 28 pitches to get all three outs in the first inning without allowing a run, after surrendering a double and a walk.
Despite Snell’s prolonged first inning of work, the lefty settled in nicely, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out nine.
The native of Seattle, Washington was in line for the win, after Rays shortstop Willy Adames launched a two-run home in the fourth inning of Blue Jays starter Tanner Roark to give his team a 3-1 lead.
Instead, the Tampa Bay bullpen, uncharacteristically, was unable to shut down the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays starter Tanner Roark pitched five innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
All three of the earned runs that Roark allowed came by-way of the long ball.
Before Adames’ two-run shot, Yoshi Tsutsugo hit his fourth home run of the year to give the Rays a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
In relief of Roark was Thomas Hatch and Rafael Dolis,who combined to allow one run over three innings of work to keep the Toronto lead in check, setting up Jordan Romano for the save to shut down the Rays in the ninth.
The first Blue Jays run came courtesy of two individual hit streaks.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. extended his streak to seven games, after tying the game at one in the third inning with a two-out double that drove in Biggio from first base.
Biggo hit a lead off single in the inning, which extended his hit streak against the Rays to 13, the longest streak against Tampa Bay for any Blue Jays hitter in franchise history.
Monday afternoon’s game against the Rays was the last the Blue Jays will play their American League East foes during the 2020 regular season.
Toronto will start a three-game home series against the Red Sox on Tuesday night in Buffalo, NY.