Blue Jays vs. Rays Game Recap - Apr. 14, 2019

Jamie Branje
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, April 14, 2019

TORONTO - Kevin Kiermaier scored twice, including the eventual winner, to help lead the Tampa Bay Rays over the Toronto Blue Jays 8-4 in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.


Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia each drove in two runs in pinch-hit at bats in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. 


Billy McKinney hit two doubles and a home run to go with two runs scored. Freddy Galvis recorded two hits, including a home run with two RBI to help power the Blue Jays offence in front of 20,512 fans.  


Charlie Morton (2-0) was pulled after 4 and 2/3rds, with one run allowed on four hits to go with three walks and four strikeouts. He did not qualify for the win and had to throw 92 pitches, 47 of which just to record the final five outs of his day. 


Marcus Stroman (0-3) struggled throughout, as he allowed base runners in every inning he worked. He pitched four innings but needed 91 pitches to get through them. Stroman recorded five strikeouts with four walks, three hits and three runs allowed, though none of them earned. 


Winning pitcher for Tampa Bay was Adam Kolarek, who worked a scoreless inning with one strikeout and improved to 1-0 on the campaign. 


The win lifted the Rays to a 12-4 record on the season and earned them another series victory. 


Toronto dropped to 5-11 with the loss, to fall back to the bottom of the American League East division. They have yet to win a series this season. 


It was too little too late for Toronto again, with McKinney hitting a two-run no-doubt home run to the second deck in right field in the ninth, to bring them within four runs. 


Javy Guerra replaced Thomas Pannone for the Jays in the top of the eighth, and he allowed Avisail Garcia to hit a double off the wall, which was the Rays first hit since the fourth inning. He was replaced by Tim Mayza after recording just one out, having allowed a walk and a hit. 


The first batter against Mayza was Kiermaier, who hit a double off the centre field wall to increase the lead to 4-2. This was followed by a pinch-hit two-run single by Mike Zunino to right field. Guillermo Heredia pinch hit one batter later and hit a two-run home run down the left field line, which blew the game wide open. 


Mayza and Guerra combined to allow five hits, two walks and five earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning worked together. 


Galvis hit a home run just over the 400 foot marker in centre field to cut the lead to one off of Ryne Stanek in the bottom of the seventh. Justin Smoak followed with a single which prompted a pitching change; Diego Castillo entered for the Rays with one out in the inning. Castillo needed just two pitches to induce an inning-ending double play off the bat of Grichuk. 


Pannone started the fifth inning in relief of Stroman. He recorded an immaculate inning, striking out the side on just nine pitches. This is the third immaculate inning in franchise history, a feat accomplished by Roger Clemens (1998) and Steve Delabar (2013). 


The Jays were able to load the bases and chase Morton from the game in the fifth with a double, walk and reach on error, but Adam Kolarek entered the game and struck out pinch hitter Teoscar Hernandez looking on just four pitches. 


Chaz Roe replaced Kolarek with two out in the bottom of the sixth. Kolarek pitched an inning and did not allow a baserunner, with one strikeout recorded. 


To begin the top of the fourth inning Stroman picked up a bunt attempt by Kiermaier and sailed the throw about five feet over Smoak’s head at first. This marks five errors for the Jays in their last two games, and it culminated with Kiermaier standing at second base. An infield single and a walk later had the bases loaded with none out.


The Rays took the lead on a fielder’s choice hit by Austin Meadows, which scored Kiermaier and left two runners in scoring position with just one out. Yandy Diaz followed with an RBI groundout of his own to push the lead to 3-1. Stroman caught Choi looking at an off-speed pitch on the outside corner to escape the jam.


Stroman surrendered a hit to lead off the third inning, but appeared to be out of it after consecutive strikeouts and a routine ground ball to second. However, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. nonchalantly tossed the ball to Smoak, and it sailed wide, allowing Ji-Man Choi to reach on an error. 


Gurriel Jr.’s error costed the Jays dearly, as Stroman walked the next batter before surrendering an RBI single with the bases loaded to Brandon Lowe. The run was unearned but it tied the game up at one. A routine ground ball play was converted by Galvis to end the threat. 


Alen Hanson replaced Gurriel Jr. at second base after his lazy error allowed the Rays to score a run. 


A hit batter to lead the second gave the Rays their second base runner in as many innings, but he escaped the danger with two strikeouts and a deep fly ball out caught by a leaping Randal Grichuk at the wall. 


The Jays jumped on Morton in the first, when McKinney led off with a double, followed by an RBI single hit by Galvis. This was only the second time this season Toronto scored a run in the first inning. 


Toronto travels to Minnesota tomorrow for a four-game series against the Twins. They will send Mat Shoemaker (3-0) to the mound opposite Minnesota’s Martin Perez (1-0).


Tampa Bay is off tomorrow and will go home to host the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game set, opening on Tuesday.