A well-pitched game by Aaron Sanchez, the first four home run game of the season, and an improved performance from the Toronto bullpen led to the Blue Jays’ win in the series opener over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Sanchez (2.59 ERA) had a good bounce-back game after his last start in Oakland, going seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
Drew Storen entered the game out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth in relief of Sanchez and promptly gave up a lead-off home run to Brad Miller, then struck out Evan Longoria. Brett Cecil entered the game in relief of Storen and got a ground ball out and strike out. Roberto Osuna made his first appearance in six days, shook a little rust off giving up a double and single, but allowing no runs to score.
The Tampa Bay Ray’s starter Drew Smyly went six innings, allowed two runs on two hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Steve Geltz entered the game for Tampa Bay in the seventh in relief of Smyly and allowed a walk and a single, but no runs scored. Dana Eveland entered in the eighth and gave up a home run to Saunders. Ryan Webb entered in relief of Eveland and allowed a walk to Donaldson, a single to Bautista and a walk to Tulowitzki to load the bases. Justin Smoak singled to right allowing Donaldson and Bautista to score, after Tulowitzki got thrown out at third. Jhan Marinez came in to close out the game for the Rays in the ninth and gave up a homerun.
Michael Saunders went yard twice against the Tampa Bay Ray’s for his sixth multi-home run game of his career. His first home run came in the third inning against Drew Smyly, and his second came against Dana Eveland in the eighth inning.
Donaldson tied Robinson Cano for the American League lead in home runs with eight when he went yard in the sixth inning off of Drew Smyly. Donaldson also leads the American League in runs scored.
Ryan Goins also added a home run, his first of the season, which was a solo shot in the ninth inning against Jhan Marinez.
Next up for the Jays is a 6:10 start against Tampa on Saturday April 30th. The Jays will be looking for an early win to the series as J.A. Happ (2.42 ERA) is matched up against Chris Archer (3.33 ERA).