While the Tampa Bay Rays were able to tag RA Dickey for two first inning runs Friday night, the top team in the AL East had plenty of answers, as the Blue Jays took the first game of a three-game series by a 5-3 margin. The Rays are now 3-2 on their final road trip of the season.
The Rays rallied against Dickey in the first inning. Grady Sizemore slashed a double to right-center with one out, and went to third on Evan Longoria’s base hit to left. After Logan Forsythe was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, Dickey wild-pitched Sizemore Sizemore home for the first run. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a sacrifice-fly to right for a 2-0 advantage.
Yet Dickey settled down and gave up just two hits over the next five innings ― retiring 20 of 22 at one point. Dickey did an excellent job of staying ahead of the count and found success by changing speeds with his knuckleball.
It seemed like the slower one had a lot more movement, so I used that one as kind of the catalyst, Dickey said. It was in their heads that I was going to take it down a notch, and then when I did throw a hard one sometimes, it would beat them.
Dickey only fanned two batters, however, he gave up no walks and forced plenty of weak contact. In short, it was vintage Dickey.
Meanwhile, Odorizzi worked around a leadoff triple in the first inning, but Toronto (the highest scoring team in the American League) came up with runs in the second and third innings to tie the game.
The Blue Jays plated their first run in the bottom of the second. With two outs and none on, Kevin Pillar hit an opposite field ground rule double, that bounced over the wall in right. Pillar then swiped third with a batter in the left handed batter’s box. JP Arencibia, who had a clear throwing lane, bobbled Odorizzi’s pitch which allowed Pillar to easily steal the base. It’s no surprise that the Blue Jays would try to exploit Arencibia ― after all he boasts a (below league average) 30% caught stealing percentage. Pillar was brought home when Cliff Pennington hit a liner into left that hung up just enough for Grady Sizemore to charge and dive for. However, the ball bounced off his glove and bounded into centerfield.
Josh Donaldson helped Toronto to knot the game at two by belting his 40th homer in the third. After clearly pitching around both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, Odorizzi ― following a meeting on the mound by Jim Hickey ― struck out Russel Martin and Ryan Goins to preserve the tie.
But Odorizzi couldn’t hold the Blue Jays down much longer, and Pillar hit a leadoff homer in the fourth. Pennington followed with a ground rule double, and eventually scored on a Ben Revere single for a 4-2 lead. Odorizzi departed after five innings, having thrown 110 pitches.
Bautista welcomed reliever Kirby Yates with a leadoff blast to left, giving Toronto a commanding three-run lead. And though Arencibia crushed a first pitch homer (his sixth of the season) off Mark Lowe in the top of the eighth, the lefty didn’t allow another base runner. 20 year-old righty Roberto Osuna posted a perfect ninth on just 12 pitches for the save.
The New What Next
A marquee matchup between the student and his protégé: Chris Archer (12-12, 2.92 ERA) seeks to snap a four-start winless streak Saturday when he toes the rubber opposite of David Price (17-5, 2.34 ERA). Archer is 3-1 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against the Blue Jays this season. Price is 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his past four starts. He’ll face his former team for the first time since July 28th, when he allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings, including two home runs by Rays C Curt Casali. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 9/26/15 Starting Lineup
― As expected, the Rays have activated LHP Jake McGee from the DL.
― ‘Twas a nice night for baseball under the stars. Sure, the Tampa Bay Rays lost, but that’s besides the point. Thanks to all who showed up to our watch party tonight, and this season overall. We may try to host something in October, depending on which former Rays are in the postseason ― I’m looking at you David Price, Ben Zobrist, and Wade Davis (not you, Joe Maddon). If not, we’re looking forward to 2016. As always, go Rays!
― Sooo good:
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 26, 2015
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) September 25, 2015