Blue Jays drop another close one, losing 3-2 in extras to Rays

Apr 8, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) looks on during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) looks on during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays dropped another close game on Saturday, losing 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 11th inning, and wasting a solid start by Aaron Sanchez in his season debut.

The Blue Jays got an excellent first start from Aaron Sanchez on Saturday night, but unfortunately they couldn’t get a win for the 25 year old.

Sanchez threw 7 strong innings, leaving with the game tied 1-1, giving him a no decision in his first go-around. He looked a lot more like the Sanchez the Blue Jays are hoping for this year, striking out 6 batters, walking 3, and allowing just 4 hits on 1 earned run.

The problem for Sanchez’s win column was the Rays countered with Chris Archer, who was just as good on the day. Archer pitched into the 8th, finishing with 5 hits allowed, 3 walks, and 2 earned runs in 7.2 innings. The Blue Jays were able to get to him later in the game, scoring a single run in both the 7th and 8th innings against the Rays’ ace.

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The Rays opened the scoring in the 5th inning on a Corey Dickerson RBI single. Rays’ catcher Derek Norris came around to score on the Dickerson single, after he had singled to lead off the inning against Sanchez.

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The Blue Jays wouldn’t get on the board until the 7th inning, when Troy Tulowitzki collected his 5th RBI on the young season. Josh Donaldson came around to score after he and Jose Bautista reached on back to back walks to start the inning. Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play to move Donaldson to 3rd before Tulo came through with the RBI knock.

Archer was finally chased from the game in the 8th when the Blue Jays were able to get their first lead of the game. Once again, the Blue Jays lead off with a walk after Russell Martin worked Archer through a tough at bat, and moved to 3rd on a Justin Smoak single. It looked like he may end up stranded, but Donaldson came up with a big RBI single to give the Blue Jays their first lead.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hold on to it, as the Rays tied things up in the 8th inning. After Evan Longoria got things reached against Joe Biagini to lead off the inning, he eventually scored on a Steven Souza RBI single, tying the game up at 2 a piece.

The Rays threatened in the 10th, with runners on 2nd and 3rd against 40 year old veteran,  Jason Grilli. Grilli managed to strike out Rickie Weeks to end the inning, giving his characteristic fist pump as he left the field.

The score would stay that way until the 11th inning, when the Rays finally scored to finish the nearly 4 hour affair. Casey Lawrence made his major league debut in the bottom of the 11th, and unfortunately served up a double to Mallex Smith to get things started.

Smith moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt before the Blue Jays invoked the new intentional walk rule, putting both Dickerson and Kevin Kiermaier on base without throwing an actual pitch. Lawrence nearly got himself out of the jam, striking out Longoria, before walking Brad Miller to bring in the winning run.

Next: Blue Jays could be vulnerable from the left side

The Blue Jays play against the Rays again on Sunday in the series finale, with Marco Estrada facing off against Jake Odorizzi, with the game getting underway at 1:10 EST.

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