An orange roof for the winners. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

Drew Rasmussen put together a solid 5.2 inning outing, while the Tampa Bay Rays scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to en route to a 5-2 win over Toronto on Friday.

At 20-13 on the season, the Rays enter play seven games over .500, while the Blue Jays are clinging to a one-game over .500 record on the season.

Drew Rasmussen got the start against the Blue Jays and allowed just one run on three hits and a walk across 5.2 innings on 78 pitches (51 strikes, 65% strike rate). He struck out one. It was Rasmussens fourth consecutive start where he gave up a run or fewer. The right-hander has only completed six innings once in his seven turns this season, yet he has had an outstanding start to the 2022 campaign as he continues to draw weak contact out of hitters. Through 33.2 innings, Rasmussen has performed to a 2.67 ERA and 3.10 FIP, with a 0.92 WHIP and a 3.38 K/BB.

Rasmussen had allowed just an infield hit over the first 5.2 innings, however, Raimel Tapia — who entered for the injured George Springer (left ankle sprain) in the third — beat out an infield chopper to second. After Bo Bichette walked, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. lined an RBI single to right, cutting the lead to a run. Rasmussen departed for Ryan Thompson. Teoscar Hernandez, who in his career was 4-5 against the right-hander, struck out to end the inning.

Then, in the eighth, Brooks Raley allowed three straight singles to tie the contest at two, necessitating a call for Andrew Kittredge from the ‘pen. Kittredge entered with two on and none out and got Bichette to strike out, and Guerrero Jr. to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Offensively, Tampa Bay took the initial lead in the second inning after Brandon Lowe opened the frame with a triple to centerfield off Kevin Gausman. Then, with one out, Ji-Man Choi chopped a ball past the mound. Lowe took off on contact and made a terrific slide to the back of home plate, beating out the throw home from Bichette for an early one-run lead.

They extended their lead to two in the fourth inning when Kevin Kiermaier hit a chooper toward Gausman, who fielded and threw the ball up the right field line for a three-base error. Mike Zunino then hit a wall ball single to left, scoring Kiermaier. The hard-hit single by Gator Mike came mere inches from being the first home run allowed by Gausman all season.

Gausman, who entered the night with a 2.13 ERA, didn’t allow another hit until Zunino’s double off the wall (which, coincidentally, also came a biscuit away from sneaking over the wall) in the eighth inning, and gave up just one walk — the second he’s allowed in seven starts this season. He struck out eight.

With the game tied at two apiece, the Rays pulled ahead for good in the bottom of the eighth. As mentioned above, Zunino started the rally with a double off the wall in right, his second hit of the night. Taylor Walls followed with a dribbler near second that shortstop Bichette couldn’t handle; the infield hit put runners at first and third. Manuel Margot, who missed the last two games with right hamstring discomfort, fell behind 1-2, before he singled to left, scoring pinch-runner Vidal Brujan for the go ahead lead.

Tim Mayza took over for Gausman, and after getting Wander Franco to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia fell behind 0-2 before he singled to right, scoring Walls. After Mejia was balked to second, Lowe tripled to right-center — his second three-bagger of the night after having not tripled since last season — capping the scoring.

Jason Adam pitched a perfect ninth for his first big-league save.

The New What Next

Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, 6.14 ERA) will start or pitch in bulk this afternoon opposite of Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-0, 13.50 ERA), who will be activated from the Injured List.

Ryan Yarbrough struck out four in five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk on Sunday in Seattle. Yarbrough scattered four singles and pitched efficiently, tallying 68 pitches. It was his first start and second appearance of the season after beginning the campaign on the Injured List due to a groin injury. The start was vastly different from his first outing when he allowed five runs over 2.1 innings. All told, Yarbrough owns a much improved 6.14 ERA and 5.31 FIP, with a 1.91 WHIP across 7.1 frames. Yarbs has owned the Blue Jays over his career, posting an 8-2 record with a 3.23 ERA in 17 outings (eight starts).

Hyun-Jin Ryu was originally expected to miss just two or three starts with left forearm inflammation, but a Saturday return would mean he’ll wind up missing just shy of a month. He struggled in his first two outings of the season, prior to the injury, surrendering 11 runs in 7.1 innings. Ryu has performed to a 13.50 ERA and 6.12 FIP, with a 1.77 WHIP and a 2.51 K/BB. He relies primarily on a 90 mph four-seam fastball that has some natural sinking action and a 72 mph curveball with sharp bite and sweeping glove-side movement, while also mixing in an 86 mph cutter, an 81 mph changeup that has some natural sink to it, and a 90 mph sinker. Ryu is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career starts against the Rays.

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 5/14/21 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 3B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Margot DH
  4. Ramirez 1B
  5. B. Lowe 2B
  6. Arozarena LF
  7. Zunino C
  8. Kiermaier CF
  9. Bruján RF


— Rays skipper Kevin Cash is optimistic that Yandy Diaz will be back in the lineup on this afternoon. Diaz missed Friday’s game with a non-COVID related illness.