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Zeke Homers to Give Jays the Win!... No, seriously. Jays Win 3-2

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Liriano pitched well, Grilli gets a win, Carrera hits the game winning HR... Monday’s, man.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
Carrera HR’s to give the Jays the lead and the win Monday night
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off what can only be described as a major letdown this past weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays (78-64) looked to rebound against a team that they've had some trouble with this season. The Tampa Bay Rays (60-82).

On the mound for the Blue Jays, Francisco Liriano (7-12 with a 5.27 ERA on the year). For the Rays, Jake Odorizzi (9-6 with a 3.86 ERA).

(BOXSCORE for Mobile)

The Jays threatened in both the 2nd and 3rd with consecutive innings that had 2-out doubles (Kevin Pillar in the 2nd, Michael Saunders in the 3rd), but in both cases they were unable to cash in the runner and the game remained 0-0 through three innings.

The pitchers were great to start the game and kept the teams off the scoreboard through five innings.

In the 6th, however, the flood gates opened.

Devon Travis doubled to lead off the inning on a close play that went to review (call on the field stood as safe, he just barely beat it). Saunders flew out, Edwin grounded out but advanced Travis to 3rd. This brought up Jose Bautista and he would hit a ball JUUUUUST over the wall in left for a homerun! His 18th of the year opening the scoring and giving the Jays the lead.

2-0 Blue Jays

That lead lasted two batters as both Evan Longoria and Brad Miller homered to start the inning and tied the game back up, now at 2. Liriano was pulled after that.

He was fantastic through six innings, though. I can't stress that enough. He was doing well pitch count wise (just 72 through his 6.1 innings) and, apart from the 2 HR, had given up just one hit.

Liriano's final line: 6.1 IP, 2 ER on 3 H, 6 K and 1 BB.

2-2 Ball Game

A walk to Steven Souza Jr, and an error by Barney off the bat of Richie Shaffer gave the Rays runners on the corners with 2-out, but Joaquin Benoit, who had come on in relief of Lirano, managed to get Luke Maile to line out to end the inning.

Jason Grilli worked a flawless 1-2-3 8th for the Jays and Brad Boxberger came in for the Rays in the bottom half.

Final line for Odorizzi: 7 IP, 2 ER on 4 H, 4 K with a single walk.

So, this is going to be difficult to believe, but in the bottom half of the 8th Ezequiel Carrera came on to pinch hit for Darwin Barney in the bottom half and he homered... Yeah... I’m not kidding. There is no punch line (except for maybe the Rays themselves).
If you’re wondering why this feels familiar, it may be because of another September, game winning HR by an unlikely candidate.

3-2 Blue Jays

Roberto Osuna entered in the 9th and worked around a 2-out single to close out the...... Oh, wait... Russell Martin dropped the foul tip 3rd strike on Souza and the game continues (after Osuna had already done his celebration)... Souza got into one a few pitches later and, off the bat, it looked like more trouble than Bautista’s or Carrera’s HR’s, but, unlike those two (which were hit to left) this was hit to centre and Pillar tracked it down.

Jays win!! The teams briefly took to the field for a scrum but it seemed to be a misunderstanding on Souza’s part. Nothing came of it. But, I didn’t want you to see the replay and wonder why I didn’t explain what happened.

Tampa Bay Rays 2 - 3 Toronto Blue Jays

Carerra (.263) with his game winning HR. Bautista (.191) with his 2-run HR. Jason Grilli (.106) for his 8th inning work. Osuna (.151) with the close. And, I'm giving one to Liriano. 6.1 of 3 hit ball, allowing just 2 ER. He pitched well, he earned a JotD honour.

Believe it or not, this game may have saved the season. If they can build momentum off it, this might be the memorable one.


Tomorrow night is a Game 2 of the series. 7:07 PM start. Marcus Stroman (9-7 with a 4.55 ERA) vs. Drew Smyly (6-11 with a 5.05 ERA).

Source: FanGraphs