Blue Jays end the Rays' bid for MLB history in Friday night's victory
By Henry Wright
Friday night, the Blue Jays welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays to town, who had been the hottest team in MLB this season, if not ever. The Rays had started 2023 with sweeps of the Tigers, Nationals, A's, and Red Sox, and rode a 13-0 record into Toronto, which was tied with the 1987 Brewers and 1982 Braves for the longest win streak to start a season in MLB history. They had also won those 13 games by a combined 71 runs, 46 runs better than any other team this season.
The odds seemed stacked against the Jays, with Drew Rasmussen taking the mound for the Rays, who was 2-0 with 13 scoreless innings to start 2023, having only allowed three hits, and having yet to issue a walk. For the Blue Jays, José Berríos was making his third start of the season, after allowing 12 earned runs over 9.2 innings in his previous two starts. The Jays, however, started the game off with a bang, as George Springer hit his 53rd career leadoff homer, moving him into a tie with Craig Biggio for third all-time, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead.
The Jays failed to cash in on a bases-loaded situation with only one out later in the innings, but Bo Bichette, who made some history of his own, doubled in the second with runners on base to grow the lead to 2-0. Berrios was able to hold it down on the mound, allowing just one run, four hits, and no walks while striking out six through five innings on just 77 pitches for his best outing of the year. Unfortunately, that's as far as his night would go, as a comebacker to the knee would take him out of the game, but it appears to be nothing too serious.
Toronto was finally able to really break through offensively in the bottom of the fifth, bringing across four more runs and chasing Rasmussen from the game, giving them a 6-1 lead. After Trevor Richards and Zach Pop combined for a scoreless sixth, Yimi García would allow solo shots to both Josh Lowe and Christian Bethancourt in the seventh, but a good inning from Erik Swanson would keep the lead at 6-3 entering the ninth. Jordan Romano would come in for a 1-2-3 inning to get his fifth save of the season, and hand the Rays their first loss of 2023.
After a tough loss to the Tigers the night before where the offense couldn't capitalize on any of their chances, the Blue Jays played well in every facet of the game to prevent their division rivals from making history and will look to secure a fourth straight series victory as Yusei Kikuchi takes the mound Saturday afternoon.