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Rays Use Small Ball To Beat Jays With Late Run

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Another frustrating game for the Jays bats leads to another loss

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rays 3 Jays 2

There were too many just-missed balls by the Toronto Blue Jays to name them all. Josh Donaldson, Dioner Navarro and Russell Martin all barely missed balls that could have tied the game, and that was just in the eighth inning. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis also barely missed hittable pitches.

Daniel Norris got the start and battled hard to give the Jays a chance to win, He went 5 innings and allowed two hits, two runs, walked three and struck out four. One of the hits was a homerun to Steven Souza Jr. He had similar problems with his command and control but battled out of some hard spots.

Liam Hendriks came in and once again pitched well. He pitched 1.2 innings allowing a hit, a walk and three more strike outs. I think he is the third right hander out of the bullpen now behind Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna. Did you ever think that sentence would be written prior to this season? Hendriks hit up to 95 on his fastball and looks like a different pitcher out of the bullpen.

Miguel Castro came in the seventh and was tagged in the eighth for the winning run. He allowed a bunt single to Souza, who stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw from Martin (who gunned down Desmond Jennings earlier in the game). Jennings then drove in Souza when he lined a sacrifice fly to Dalton Pompey on an 0-2 fastball that didn't get high enough.

At some point, the bats will turn these near misses into no doubters, but for now it is frustrating to see an offence - that was supposed to be this team's strength - struggling. But, if this was a mid-week series in June, it would just be a slump. At this point of the season, it is magnified. The way the team faced off against Matt Andriese, Kirby Yates and Steve Geltz wasn't very promising.

A lot has been said about Martin, I'm not worried. Yes, it sucks that the heart of the order hasn't gotten anything going, but you can't expect it to last all year. I thought I heard boos after Martin's last fly out, I wonder how long it will take the crowd to start turning on him if it hasn't happened already.

The Lineup

Jose Reyes 1/5, RBI double
Dalton Pompey 1/4
Jose Bautista 1/3, HBP
Edwin Encarnacion 0/4
Josh Donaldson 2/4
Dioner Navarro 1/3, walk
Russell Martin 0/4, 2 Ks
Kevin Pillar 2/4, RBI single
Devon Travis 1/4

Jays of the Day: Kevin Pillar (.000) was once again solid with the bat, and put in a great effort to get a ball in foul territory. He is a great fourth outfielder (or starting centerfielder) when Michael Saunders comes back. He gets an honourable mention. Hendriks (+.121) was really good out of the pen like I mentioned. Donaldson also had a very good day, maybe his best as a Jay. To go with his two hits, he just missed a game-tying home run.

Jays Suckage: The lineup (again - maybe I should stop doing these recaps) was a combined -.531. Martin (-.188) and Travis (-.122) were the worst of the bunch but Travis gave a Kevin Jepsen pitch a ride to right center in the bottom of the ninth. Castro had a -.157 but really didn't pitch too badly and was close to being bailed out by his offence.

Up Next: The third game of the four game series goes tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. Mark Buehrle is coming off his 200th career win and will face off against a pitcher to be named later EDIT: Erasmo Ramirez, the former Mariner will get the start. Chris Archer is expected to pitch on Thursday for the Rays. Maybe the Jays can open the roof to get some of the dead air out of the Rogers Centre.