Avisail Garcia and Austin Meadows both hit home runs on Tuesday, helping the Tampa Bay Rays to their fourth straight win, 3-1, over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays (33-19) moved to 14 games over .500 for the first time this season, and snared another series by winning the first two games of this set.
Tampa Bay took the lead in the first inning against starter Clayton Richard. Avisail Garcia led off the inning with a single to left and Tommy Pham walked, putting a pair of runners on on with none out. Austin Meadows followed with a hard hit grounder to the hole at second for the first out inning, although it did allow both runners to move into scoring position. After Willy Adames worked a nine-pitch at-bat — in which he walked, subsequently loading the bases — Travis “the Quiet Storm” d’Arnaud followed with a long sacrifice fly to center, making it 1-0. Tampa Bay has now have outscored the opposition 37-16 in the first inning.
In the third inning, Garcia lifted a 287 foot high fly ball into right-field to lead off the third. Right-fielder Randall Grichuk attempted to track the ball but lost it in the roof. As the ball, which landed about 30 feet behind him, bounded away, Garcia circled the bases for his 10th homer of the season, and the first inside the park homer of his career. It was the second inside the park homer for Tampa Bay in a week (Kevin Kiermaier in Cleveland).
Meadows capped the Rays scoring with his third homer in as many days.
The line drive shot came off left-hander Thomas Pannone in the seventh inning.
On the pitching side of things, Ryne Stanek took the mound as the opener for the Rays. Stanek worked two scoreless frames and gave up just one hit and one walk, while striking out one on an efficient 26 pitches (16 strikes, 62% strike rate). The right-hander has thrown scoreless baseball in 13 of 15 appearances as an opener.
Ryan Yarbrough followed Stanek and fired 3-2/3 scoreless innings, issuing one walk and recording a strikeout. The lefty got out of a second and third none-out jam in the fourth inning by coaxing a pop-up out of Grichuk, a ground ball out to third from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and whiffing Brandon Drury to put the kibosh on Toronto’s best early scoring opportunity.
Yarbrough had allowed a combined 12 earned runs across his previous three appearances, yet he needed just 53 pitches to finish with his second scoreless effort of the season.
Chaz Roe took over for the last out in the sixth, while Emilio Pagan worked around a single against the shift in the seventh, and punched out the side in the eighth.
Diego Castillo did have a challenging ninth inning, however, he was still able to pick up his sixth save of the season. Grichuk singled with one out to center, and Gurriel hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the side wall in right, putting both runners into scoring position. After Drury hit a sacrifice fly to center, which prevented the shutout, Castillo got Danny Jansen to ground to second, ending the game.
The New What Next
The Rays will look to sweep the series on Wednesday with Blake Snell (3-4, 3.07 ERA) starting for the Rays, pitching opposite of Trent Thornton (1-4, 4.42 ERA).
Blake Snell allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven across 6-2/3 innings on Friday. The only run allowed by him came on a fourth inning on a solo homer to right field. Snell nearly managed to get through seven innings but was pulled with two outs in the seventh after 104 pitches (65 strikes, 63% strike rate). The southpaw has turned in quality starts in three of his last four outings, although he has not won decision since May 6 because the offense has given him just three runs of support. Snell owns a 3.07 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with a 5.2 K/BB over 55-2/3 innings of work this season. He shut down the Jays in April, limiting them to just one hit while striking out nine.
Trent Thornton gave up three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out 10 over six innings on Friday. Thornton surrendered two runs in the third inning and another in the fifth before exiting the contest. The right-hander was able to turn in his second consecutive quality start, although he wasn’t able to pick up the victory in either outing. Thornton carries a 4.42 ERA with 60 punchouts over 55 frames on the season. The Rays hammered the 25-year-old on April 12, touching him for five runs on eight hits (including three homers) and two walks in three innings of work. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-2), Ji-Man Choi (1-2, 2B), Avisail Garcia (2-2), Kevin Kiermaier (1-3, 3B, RBI), Brandon Lowe (1-2, HR, 2 RBI), Austin Meadows (2-2, 2HR, 2 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.
Rays 5/29/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows DH
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- B. Lowe 2B
- Garcia RF
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS
- Kratz C
- Robertson 3B
- Snell RHP