With a win under their belt, the Toronto Blue Jays were looking for a second straight win as they fell short in a 10-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
While the pitching matchup featured lefty Francisco Liriano and Matt Andriese, it wasn’t a night to remember for both pitchers on the mound. It was more of a heavyweight fight between both teams at the plate.
In the top of the first, Andriese allowed right fielder Jose Bautista and DH Kendrys Morales to hit a single before shortstop Troy Tulowitzki doubled to right field to score Bautista and Morales as that put the Blue Jays up 2-0.
Meanwhile, Liriano didn’t even survive the bottom of the first. After walking right fielder Steven Souza, third baseman Evan Longoria tied up the game with a home run to make it 2-2 on a 1-1 count. Afterward, first baseman Rickie Weeks Jr. and catcher Derek Norris scored on a Brad Miller double that put the Rays up 4-2. It would eventually be 5-2 Rays at the end of the first.
Liriano was pulled with one out, four walks, with three hits on four earned runs. This was the shortest start of the 33-year old’s career. Dominic Leone, who won one of the final roster spots, was called into the game. The Rays scored one more run in the second inning to make it 6-2.
Leone pitched 2.2 innings, allowing one hit with one earned run and three strikeouts. He carried the weight for the Blue Jays and that helped them start a rally in the top of the fourth.
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Troy Tulowitzki homered to right field on a 1-1 count. With the Blue Jays now trailing 6-3, they tried to continue the rally as Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carerra hit singles into left field before Devon Travis grounded out to first to end the top of the fourth.
The Blue Jays bullpen kept the team alive in the early part of the game. Ryan Tepera would take over in the bottom of fourth. Tepera would pitch two innings, allowing two hits with one earned run and two strikeouts.
Rays pitcher Andriese managed to pitch through five innings before he gave up a double to Josh Donaldson and Bautista being safe at first on a fielding error by Souza. Donaldson would score to pull the Blue Jays closer to the Rays as they trailed 6-4.
Morales would draw a walk with the bases loaded that would tie up the game 6-6. Following that was another walk to Tulowitzki as that gave the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead.
Unfortunately, the one-run lead would not last. Tepera gave up a leadoff single to shortstop Tim Beckham and he was done. Corey Dickerson would come in as a pinch-hitter for the Rays whereas the Blue Jays called upon J.P. Howell.
It was a tough outing for Howell who loaded up the bases. Steve Souza ripped a two-run double to centre field to give the Rays an 8-7 lead.
Howell was eventually pulled for Joe Smith with the bases loaded and nobody out. Smith gave up a run to Logan Morrison to put the Rays up 9-6. Smith did his best to keep things from getting out of hand afterward as he struck out the side.
Danny Farquhar would pitch for the second straight for the Rays. He retired four batters between the top of the seventh and the top of the eighth before Donaldson hit a home run to centre field to the Blue Jays behind 9-8.
The Rays retaliated in the bottom of the eighth with Norris hitting a RBI single off Aaron Loup to extend the Rays lead 10-8.
Rays closer Alex Colome would get three easy outs in the top of the ninth. The Rays defeated the Blue Jays 10-8 and even the series.
It was a seesaw battle all night long. A combined 12 walks, 18 combined runs and 24 combined hits.
Xavier Cedeno earns the win (1-0), Howell earns the loss (0-1) and Colome picked up this third save of the season.
Assuming Rusell Martin is back behind the plate, the pitching matchup should a good one tomorrow night. The Blue Jays will look to rebound with Aaron Sanchez (15-2) on the mound who is up against Chris Archer (1-0) back at Tropicana Field at 6:10 PM.