The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from three deficits on Monday, with the third rally representing the go ahead lead they would not relinquish. Jake Bauers and Willy Adames both had good nights in their first big league game together, as the Rays defeated the Jays, 8-4, to open a three-game set.
Toronto took the initial lead in the first inning after Yangervis Solarte hit a soft double down the left-field line, then came around to score on a two-out single by Kendrys Morales, also to left. But Tampa Bay answered when Matt Duffy hit a 2-2 leadoff single, Jake Bauers doubled to right on the first pitch he saw, and a Joey Wendle hit a sacrifice-fly to deep center to tie the game at one apiece.
From early on it seemed as though the game would played in see-saw fashion, as every time Toronto reclaimed the lead, Tampa Bay immediately responded in the bottom of the frame. That pattern continued in the top of the third when the Blue Jays moved back ahead after Devon Travis singled with one out and Teoscar Hernandez hit a first pitch homer over the right-field fence.
Not to count the Rays out of the game this early, Bauers walked to start another rally in the bottom of the frame. And after Sam Gaviglio retired the next two batters, Joey Wendle, Adames and Mallex Smith slapped back-to-back-to-back base hits, with the last two driving in runs to knot the game at three.
Willy Adames rips a single through the left side, bringing home Jake Bauers and cutting the Rays’ deficit to 3-2 in the 3rd inning
In true see-saw fashion, Toronto took a momentary lead in the top of the fourth, but that was before Tampa Bay moved in front for good.
Down by a run, Matt Duffy hit a one-out single to center then swiped second against Russell Martin, who the Rays seem more than happy and willing to take advantage of. Bauers followed with his first Major League homer, a shot to right on a belt high fastball that leaked back over the plate.
Ryan Yarbrough’s day was done after six innings and 88 pitches thrown (59 strikes, 67% strike rate). He struck out four, walked one, and gave up four runs allowed (all earned).
Diego Castillo worked around a Hernández single for a scoreless seventh, and the Rays put three more runs on the board in bottom of the frame.
Bauers, again, was in the thick of things, earning a walk against reliever John Axford, then going to third on a run-and-hit single by Wilson Ramos. After CJ Cron was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases, Wendle hit a sharp comebacker, which Axford knocked down, then bobbled, and threw wide of home, as two runs scored to make it a three-run game.
Adames followed with a sacrifice-fly to right-center, off Seung-hwan Oh, for an 8-4 score.
Jonny Venters worked around a one out walk for a scoreless eighth, coaxing an inning inning double play along the way, while Sergio Romo followed with scoreless ninth to complete the game. Romo reached 10 years of Major League service time with his inning of work.
The New What Next
The Rays play game two of the series on Tuesday. Ryne Stanek (1-1, 3.14 ERA) will open the game, with RHP Austin Pruitt (1-3, 4.57 ERA) slated to cover the bulk of the innings. They’ll be opposed by left-hander Jaime Garcia (2-4, 5.57 ERA).
Austin Pruitt (1-3) allowed five earned runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out six across seven innings on Thursday. To be sure, the five earned runs are ugly, however, the bulk of the damage came in a three run second, and the other runs came on a pair of solo homers to Denard Span and Mitch Haniger. That is to say, Pruitt settled in and kept the Rays in the game. Pruitt has allowed four or more runs just three of his 10 appearances this season.
Jaime García threw six innings Thursday, allowing one run on three walks and four hits while fanning six in a 5-4 win over the Orioles. The Jays couldn’t give him much run support until a ninth-inning rally, so he didn’t factor into the decision. The 31-year-old southpaw lowered his season ERA to 5.57 to go along with a 2.08 K/BB ratio over 53-1/3 innings. Garcia has relied primarily on his 90 mph four-seam fastball with some natural sinking action, and a whiffy 90 mph sinker, while also mixing in an 82 mph slider with depth and armside cut, a whiffy 82 mph changeup, and a 73 mph curveball with sharp downward bite and slight glove-side movement. He is 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA in one start against the Rays (4-2/3 IP). Key Matchups: CJ Cron (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Carlos Gomez (12-33, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 6/12/18 Starting Lineup
— INF Daniel Robertson said the left hamstring strain that placed him on the 10-day DL was the “mildest of the mild.” The move is believed to be precautionary, and the infielder is confident he will be ready to come back on June 22, the earliest date he can be activated.
— CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb surgery) told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) he was ready and eager to start a rehab assignment today with the Stone Crabs in Dunedin, having passed the final tests of taking live batting practice (off two minor league pitchers who came up from Port Charlotte) and throwing to bases at the Trop. Kiermaier plans to play two games with the Stone Crabs, three with Triple-A Durham this weekend, then two-three more with the Crabs next week and also be activated June 22.
— SS Adeiny Hechavarria (right hamstring strain) started his rehab with the Crabs on Monday, hitting second and playing shortstop. He is on a similar schedule to Kiermaier.
— Chris Archer (right abdominal strain) had a setback, putting his recovery on hold, as a previously scheduled simulated game Tuesday was cancelled due to recurring soreness in the area. “Had that gone well, posits Topkin, “Archer could have rejoined the Rays as soon as Sunday.”
Unfortunately Arch is now going to be sidetracked a little bit, Cash said. Woke up (Monday) feeling not that great. So we’re going to take a little bit more conservative approach. I don’t think it’s anything too alarming. But we want to make sure once we start that process of ramping him back up and getting him going that all those symptoms have subsided. And obviously they haven’t.
Archer tossed a 20-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and told Cash, and reporters, that he felt good at the time.