Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays Vs. Rays Recap: Morales Grand Slam Leads To Victory

Apr 6, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales (8) is congratulated by right fielder Jose Bautista (19) after he hit a grand slam during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales (8) is congratulated by right fielder Jose Bautista (19) after he hit a grand slam during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays began their first four-game series of the season. They earned their first win of the season with a final score of 5-2 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Toronto Blue Jays had one more stop before heading back to Toronto next week. They played another division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays gave Devon Travis the night off and Steve Pearce found himself as the leadoff hitter for the game.

The pitching matchup featured groundball pitcher Marcus Storman and Blake Snell, who struggled against the Jays bats last season.

Snell would get some strikeouts to get things going in the top of the first. Stroman was in cruise control in the bottom half of the first as he struck out the side.

Utility man Darwin Barney would start the rally with a single to left field in the top of the third. With Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista taking walks from Snell, that set the stage for Kendrys Morales.

Morales looked like he was missing something in Baltimore and he found it tonight. Morales hit a grand slam to put the Blue Jays up 4-0. That was Morales first home run with the team and his fourth career grand slam.

In the bottom of the fifth, Steve Souza would hit a double before Stroman threw him out at home on a comeback to the mound. His knee would slam into Russell Martin’s shinguard as he hobbled off the field.

The play would be reviewed to see if Martin intentionally blocked the plate. There was no overturn of the call after review.

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The Blue Jays would keep the bats alive in the top of the seventh. Martin walked then ran from first to third on a Justin Smoak single. Barney would come up to the plate and bunt for a RBI single to score Martin that put that Blue Jays up 5-1. Barney would finish the night 3 for 3 with a RBI.

Unfortunately, that was the end for Snell who pitched 6.2 innings. The 24-year old was inconsistent, struggling to find his command early in the game.

Tommy Hunter would come into the game with two outs, and two men on as he would strike out Donaldson to end the top half of the seventh. Hunter also pitched in the top of the eighth for the Rays.

Ezequiel Carrera would take over in left field in the bottom half of the inning. Stroman would be pulled after Logan Morrison scored the first Rays run with a RBI single to score Evan Longoria.

Storman’s pitching was in mid-season form. Throughout the game, he kept changing it up on the mound with some hesitation and rocking just to throw off the hitters and it worked. He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing six hits on one earned run, two breaking balls, and five strikeouts.

The 25-year old also recorded his 300th career strikeout, becoming the fourth fastest Blue Jay to reach the mark.

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Joe Biagini came into the game after Stroman. He needed just one pitch to get Beckham to ground out into an inning-ending double play. Biagini would retire the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a single before ending the inning with a ground out to first.

Danny Farquhar would pitch for the Rays in the top half of the ninth before Joe Smith would come in to pitch for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth.

Smith would get one out before being pulled after walking Brad Miller and a double from Souza. Jason Grilli would come into the game for the save.

Miller would come into score on a breaking ball from Grilli that bounced out of the play. However, Grilli would make up for that by striking out Morrisson and Rickie Wekks Jr.

The Blue Jays finally got their first win of the 2017 season (1-2). Stroman picks up the win (1-0), and Grilli gets save (1) as the Blue Jays defeat the Rays 5-2.

Next: Ex-Blue Jays: Where are they now?

Hopefully, they will keep up this momentum heading into the weekend. Lefty Francisco Liriano (8-13) will get the start against Matt Andriese (8-8) tomorrow night at 7:10 PM.

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