The Blue Jays have split the opening two games of their series with the Rays, losing on 6-2 on Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays sent Marcus Stroman to the hill against the Tampa Bay Rays and Drew Smyly for the second of a three games series on Tuesday night. After both starters opened the game in complete control, the Rays eventually pulled away later to continue frustrating Jays fans everywhere.
The Jays played very solid defence to support Stroman’s outing, perhaps keeping runs off the board earlier. They turned three double plays through the first four innings, and had a pair of highlight reel plays from their part-time corner outfielders.
In the 4th inning, Ezequiel Carrera further endeared himself to Jays fans with a running catch in the right centre gap. Kevin Kiermaier took off for second base thinking it was going to fall in for a hit, but “Zeke” was able to run it down and then turn and double up the speedy outfielder at first. Melvin Upton also made a diving catch on a ball slicing away from him in the left as well.
However, strong defence wasn’t able to keep them down all night as the Rays were able to get to Stroman in the fifth. After Corey Dickerson reached with a one out double, Steven Souza followed with a walk. Alexei Ramirez, who only recently joined the Rays via the Padres, took Stroman to left to make it 3-0.
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“Zeke” continued to make a case for more playing time by ripping a two out double to right in the 5th, but the Blue Jays failed to knock him in.
They were able to finally get on the board in the 6th though, breaking the Drew Smyly shutout to that point. After Jose Bautista reached base with a walk, Russell Martin hit his 18th home run of the season to pull the Jays within one.
The Rays got one back in the top of the 7th as Souza homered to centre off of Joe Biagini. It was the third home run allowed by the Rule 5 pick in his last four appearances after not allowing a home run in more than 50 innings. He was able to escape the inning without further damage.
Kevin Pillar led off the 7th inning with a single against Dana Eveland, who came on to start the 7th. John Gibbons elected to stick with Carrera against the lefty, and unfortunately the outfielder couldn’t continue his hot streak with the bat, striking out. The Jays sent Dioner Navarro to the plate for Darwin Barney, which prompted the Rays to make a pitching change, bringing in former Jay Danny Farquhar.
After Navarro flied out, Devon Travis singled to centre and Bautista walked to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion. The American League leader in RBI was unable to deliver this time though, as Farquhar struck him out to strand three runners.
- Cobb will make his third start, and second against the Blue Jays, since returning from almost two full seasons missed after Tommy John surgery.
- The Blue Jays also passed the 3 million mark in attendance for the first time since 1993. Considering the club failed to even reach 2 million through the 2009-2011 season, this is a significant milestone for ownership, especially as they consider their own upcoming free agent decisions.