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The usual Tropicana Field nightmare, Jays lose

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
Who says ballet dancers aren’t athletes.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 4 Rays 8

Not exactly the effort that Erik wanted to see for his birthday. I hope the rest of the day went better.

We were in this game. Then came the 7th inning.

John Axford pitched a very nice, quick 6th inning, throwing just 4 pitches. I was quite happy to see him come back out for the 7th. It didn’t go well.

John started the 7th with a walk, then a single and a hit batter. Down by 1, it wasn’t the start to the inning we wanted. But, the next batter did just what we needed, a nice little comebacker to the mound. Easy double play ball, get the out at the plate, then throw to first. But Axford dribbled it. Still, he had plenty of time to get the out at the plate. And John seemed to be calm, corralled the ball, and, very calmly and softly, threw the ball well wide of the plate. 2 runs scored and our close game was now pretty much a blow out.

If a rookie did that, we’d be hearing about rookie mistakes for half an hour. But Axford has been around forever.

Anyway, Seunghwan Oh came in and got out of the inning with just 1 more run scoring, but suddenly down by 4 runs, after 7 innings, it was pretty much over.

Preston Guilmet pitched the 8th inning, getting his first work for his new team and had a 10-pitch clean inning. A nice sign.

Sam Gaviglio has been so good, until tonight. He just didn’t have it today. He went 3.1, allowed 7 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and 5 earned. Gibby took him out after he allowed a Jake Bauers homer with 1-out in the third. I thought he could have stayed out a bit longer, but then, we were down by 1, not a big deal in the 4th inning. If he gave up more, we would be a tough spot.

Danny Barnes came in and pitched 1.2 perfect, with 3 strikeouts.

For 4 innings our offense looked pretty good. We scored:

  • A run in the first. Yangervis Solarte doubled, and Kendrys Morales singled him home. Morales was thrown out at second trying to stretch a double into a double.
  • Two in the third: Devon Travis singled and Teoscar Hernandez followed with a opposite field homer.
  • A run in the fourth. Morales led off with a double and singles from Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk brought him home. It would have been nice to score more that inning.

The rest of the way? 1 single (Hernandez, who was caught stealing soon after) and 2 walks (Martin and Smoak).

In all we had 8 hits. 2 each for Morales (single and double, coming just short of a homer) and Hernandez.

0 fors for Smoak, Pillar and Diaz.

Smoak did make a terrific play on defense, saving a throwing error for Solarte, making a very tough catch behind the bag and somehow managing to keep his foot on the bag.

Jay of the Day: Teoscar (.121 WPA). Honorable mention to Barnes and Morales.

Suckage: Gaviglio (-.425), Axford (-.134), Diaz (-.113, and had a ground ball go off his glove, a play that should have been made) and Pillar (-.110).

We had 370 comments in the GameThread. I led us to crushing defeat.

# Commenter # Comments
1 Tom Dakers 53
2 DangYouToHeck 47
3 BlueJayEMT 40
4 Alan F. 39
5 lalalaprise 35
6 Link Floyd 26
7 NelsonL 26
8 delv213 24
9 erik.t 14
10 Kate Stanwick 14