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Blue Jays can't overcome rough start by Marco Estrada, fall 6-4 to Rays

On the bright side, Josh Donaldson continued to smash home runs

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Rays 6 Blue Jays 4

In his fourth start since the trade deadline passed, Marco Estrada turned in his first subpar start as the Rays roughed him for 6 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks in just 4.1 innings. It actually started okay, but like a snowball rolling down a hill, just careened further and further out of control.

Estrada's first two innings were scoreless, as he worked around a two out baserunner in each. The Blue Jays staked him to a lead in the bottom of the 2nd, as Steve Pearce singled with one out (Minor Leaguer would like me to mention that he timed Morales at 4.8 second up the line). Kevin Pillar followed that by hitting a shallow fly ball into right-centre field that hung up forever, but still fell into no man's land and bounced right over the outfielders. This allowed to Pillar to take second, but most importantly allowed Pearce to score, beating the throw despite slowing around 3rd and an awkward approach to home plate.

The lead was not long lived. Estrada gave up a leadoff single, struck out Corey Dickerson but hung a changeup to Lucas Duda that was smashed for a home run that put the Rays ahead 2-1. They would not relinquish the lead. That was all the damage in the inning against Estrada, though he got into trouble with two out as he though he had Logan Morrison struck out but the ump ruled a foul tip keeping him alive. Then he blooped a double, Estrada walked a batter to put to one before retiring the side.

The 4th inning was likewise rough. Estrada gave up a leadoff home run to Wilson Ramos, then a double to our old friend Adeiny Hechavarria. Two batters later he scored on the single to make it 4-1.

But the wheels really came off in the 5th inning. LoMo and Steven Souza lined singles back-to-back leading off, followed by another hard hit ball, a lineout to second. Ramos got a ball to drop for a single to load the bases. Hechavarria is the exact guy you'd want up for the other team in this situation, but Estrada walked him and then Dickerson to make it 6-1 with the bases still loaded, and that was the end of his night.

So the wheels seemed about to fall off the wagon, and in was coming Matt Dermody - who wouldn't exactly be my first choice for this situation. But he got out of the inning with a short fly ball on which the runner couldn't tag and a ground out. And that seemed to shift the momentum a little bit.

With one out in the bottom of the 5th, Darwin Barney singled to turn the lineup over to the top. Jose Bautista doubled him over to third to put Blake Snell in his second jam of the night. with Josh Donaldson coming to the plate. And he brought some rain, clearing the bases with one swing of the bat for a three run home run to make it 6-4 and put the Jays right back in it. Justin Smoak followed with a single, and the tying run was suddenly at the plate.

Spoiler alert: this was basically the extent of the Jays offensive production. They sent the minimum to the plate the rest of the game, with the exception of Rob Refsnyder reaching on catcher interference in the 6th as only two of the final 15 reached safely. Which was doubly unfortunate, since the bullpen totally held the line the rest of the way.

Dermody gave way to Danny Barnes, who went the next 1.2 scoreless, bending with a double that put runners on 2nd/3rd wth one out, but not breaking. Ryan Tepera pitched a clean 8th inning, before Tim Mayza made his MLB debut. It wasn't the cleanest outing in the world, as he struck out the first batter he faced, showing a good fastball in the 93-94 range with a running breaking ball. He then alternated hits and outs, allowing some hard contact but ultimately keeping the Rays off the board.

Jays of the Day: Donaldson (+0.175 WPA). Let's give one to Barnes too (0.077) for keeping them in it.

Suckage: Estrada (-0.355), Morales (-0.134), Smoak (-0.093); Ohlman (-0.089)

Tomorrow, Marcus Stroman goes against Jacob Faria as the Jays look to guarantee at least a series split at 7:05 ET.