After a thrilling 7-6, extra-inning win on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays will go for a series win in the rubber match against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field, on Wednesday. Tampa Bay hit a triplet of homers in the fourth inning, allowing them to erase a six-run deficit.
Down 6-0, Eric Sogard led off the fourth inning with a base hit to center before Avisail Garcia launched a 382 foot home run to left-field.
Then, Matt Duffy singled to left before Willy Adames hit a two-run, 375-foot homer to left-field.
Finally, with two outs in the frame, Travis d’Arnaud singled to deep right before Austin Meadows blasted a no-doubt 447-foot homer to right field, tying the game at six.
The game stayed knotted at six apiece until the bottom of the tenth inning. Meanwhile, the Rays bullpen behind Nick Anderson, who racked up two strikeouts; Emilio Pagan, who struck out the side after allowing two batters to reach on back-to-back one-out hits; and Diego Castillo worked in tandem to keep the Blue Jays off the board.
Pagan was particularly animated when he struck out Cavan Biggio on a 96 mph fastball above the zone, stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.
The Rays ultimately won the game on a tenth inning, bases-loaded wild pitch, going 0-8 wRISP along the way.
It was Tampa Bay’s third walk-off win of the season and just their extra-inning win (in nine chances) at home. It was the second time in franchise history the Rays won on a walk-off wild pitch, April 30, 2011, by Fernando Rodney, then of the Angels.
Tampa Bay enters play a half-game in front of Oakland for the final Wildcard spot and 1-1/2 games back of Cleveland for the top Wildcard spot. Tampa Bay and Oakland won yesterday, while Cleveland’s game was postponed due to inclement weather.
The New What Next
Brendan McKay (2-1, 4.38 ERA) will get the start for the Rays, pitching opposite of former Ray Wilmer Font (3-2, 4.91 ERA).
Brendan McKay allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk over 5-1/3 innings against the Red Sox on Thursday. He struck out seven. McKay got off to an inauspicious start by allowing three of the first four hitters to reach base, including a two-run homer. He settled down though and left with a lead for his second big-league win. McKay was rocked for six runs in his previous outing, so Thursday’s effort was a positive sign for Tampa Bay.
Wilmer Font threw 26 pitches (17 strikes, 65% strike rate) over two scoreless frames on Friday, so it’s likely he will be used as an opener as opposed to a traditional starter. Font has a 4.91 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 2.79 K/BB across 55 innings this season, and has given up four runs in 10 innings with Toronto. Key Matchups: Guillermo Heredia (1-1, RBI, BB), Mike Zunino (1-3)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 8/7/19 Starting Lineup
- Choi 1B
- Pham LF
- Meadows RF
- Garcia DH
- Sogard 2B
- Brosseau 3B
- Kiermaier C
- Zunino C
- Adames SS
— In the first of back-to-back rehab outings by for Jose Alvarado, the left-hander pitched in the seventh inning of a Durham Bulls ballgame, needing 28 pitches (12 strikes, 43% strike rate) to get through the frame. Alvarado ranged between 95-99 mph on his fastball, although his command of the fastball and slider (which ranged from 89-91 mph) lacked consistency. He will pitch again tomorrow. If he can throw strikes, he will be recalled by the weekend. If not, Alvarado may need a little more time in Durham.
— Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle, and Yandy Diaz took grounders yesterday, although it is not clear when they will start their respective rehab assignments.
— Anthony Banda (Tommy John surgery) threw four scoreless frames in Durham, allowing three hits while striking out one.
— Trevor Richards, in his first inning of work, since he was acquired from Miami, threw a scoreless inning, throwing 13 of 28 pitches for strikes (46% strike rate), allowing one hit and two walks, while fanning two.