Drew Hutchison had a promising first start and Adam Lind led the offense as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in front of an estimated 11,113 fans at Tropicana Field. The win for the Jays puts both clubs at 1-1 early in this 2014 season.
Hutchison pitched 5.1 scoreless frames and allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out four. His fastball sat in the 92 MPH range and touched 95.3 MPH according to Brooks Baseball. He generated five swinging strikes with his four-seamer and another three with his slider while 50 of the 83 pitches he threw were for strikes.
Hutch looked dominant early, including one at bat when he made Rays’ slugger Evan Longoria look foolish. He started to wear down in the sixth and manager John Gibbons wisely took him out before he was allowed to unravel. Hutchison will need to battle through those situations later on in the season but for now it’s early so it was the smart move to pull him. He looked excited on the mound and even gave a fist pump after one of his strikeouts.
Lind was two for three (including a base hit against a lefty!) and looked locked in at the plate. He took Rays’ starter Alex Cobb deep to center field with two on in the first to help the Jays jump out to an early lead. Recent call up Jonathan Diaz, who apparently is playing the role of Munenori Kawasaki for the time being with Jose Reyes on the 15-day DL, came through with a two-out single to increase the lead to 4-0. It was the first career hit for the defensive wizard Diaz.
Aaron Loup relieved Hutchison and retired all five batters he faced. The Rays made a bit more of a game of it late with runs off of Steve Delabar and Sergio Santos but Santos was able to shut the door with three strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.
The Blue Jays are back at the Trop on Wednesday for game three of their four game series with the Rays before heading home to take on the New York Yankees for the home opener on Friday.