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Blue Jays come up short, stay below .500 with 8-1 loss

Marco Estrada gave up six earned runs in 3.1 innings.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays
Steven Souza Jr. is tagged out by Russell Martin as he is caught in a run-down in the third inning.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Blue Jays, at the present moment, are the definition of mediocrity. For the past two weeks, the team has consistently flirted with .500. In fact, since May 31st, the Blue Jays have been within one game of the average plateau four times — never falling more than three games below. Toronto is now two games below, as they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 8-1 on Tuesday night.

The game was never pretty for the Blue Jays. Marco Estrada started the game, and in his past two starts, he had given up 11 earned runs in just over nine innings. The bleeding never did stop. In his 3.1 innings of work, Estrada allowed six earned runs on 12 hits, two of which were home runs. Both home runs came in the third inning. Surprisingly, Estrada didn’t allow a run in the first (he has a 7.62 ERA in the first inning in 2017), but the delayed pain was not beneficial. He gave up four runs in the third frame and an additional two in the fourth before being removed from the game. 6-0 Rays.

Both sides stayed quiet until the seventh inning. Former Blue Jay Colby Rasmus, who played in Toronto from 2011 to 2014, hit a sacrifice fly to centre fielder Kevin Pillar to score Evan Longoria, making it 7-0 for the Rays.

The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom half of the frame when Russell Martin doubled and Ezequiel Carerra drove him in on a single. They threatened again in the eighth, with a leadoff hit from Josh Donaldson and a line drive to left field from Jose Bautista, but Rasmus caught the ball on the fly to shorten Toronto’s rally before it truly started. After an up-the-middle single from Justin Smoak (All-Star voting is open, on a completely unrelated note), Troy Tulowitzki walked, but Russell Martin grounded out with the bases loaded.

Corey Dickerson hit a home run off of Aaron Loup in the top of the ninth to provide the game’s final score of 8-1.

The Blue Jays play the second of a short two-game series against the Rays tomorrow night, once again at the Rogers Centre. The game, with a start time of 7:07 ET, will feature Francisco Liriano on the mound, who gave up three earned runs in five innings on June 7th against the Oakland Athletics. The game can be found on TVA Sports, Sportsnet and Sportsnet-1 or can be listened to on Sportsnet 590.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkColley.