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Jays pull out back and forth win in Tampa

Grichuk three run triple in 7th decisive

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 7 Rays 6

Thomas Pannone was rudely welcomed to the Trop in his first career start there, also his last outing of the 2018 season. Mallex Smith tripled leading off, followed by a walk and a Joey Wendle to put the Rays up 1-0 before Pannone recorded an out - and the first out brought in the second run on a sac fly. A two out single made it 3-0, and it was looking like just another one of those Jays-Rays disasters at that hellhole.

Alas, Pannone rebounded quite nicely to salvage a decent start considering that inauspicious first inning. After a leadoff single to start the 2nd, he went right through the order to set down the next nine in a row through the 4th inning. The remainder of his outing was a choppier, as a Smith single, stolen base plus error and a sac fly plated another run (followed by a walk and another single before be got out of the inning, so the run likely scores even without small ball).

Meanwhile, the Jays had precious to show for their efforts against Tyler Glasnow. He was far from terribly sharp, allowing 7 hits and 3 walks over 5.1 innings, though also piling up nine strikeouts. But through five innings, all the Jays had on the scoreboard was a solo home run leading off the second inning by Tesocar Hernandez (gratuitous outs on the basepaths didn’t help; Teoscar getting himself picked and caught stealing for a TOOTBLAN and Richard Urena getting picked off at 1st).

That changed in the 8th inning, as Rowdy Tellez turned on and golfed a breaking ball down the right field line for a solo home run that cut the deficit to 4-2. The Jays put another two runners after a strikeout to end Glasnow’s day. They evened the score off reliever Adam Kolarek, as Jon Berti came up with two on and two out and hit a “gliner” through up the middle. Urena got the wave as the throw came into second, and both runners were safe to tie the game.

Pannone was back out for the 6th (perhaps questionably if the Jays were doing anything but playing out the string) and got himself into another jam, with a walk and single sandwiched around a strikeout putting runners on the corners. That brought Jake Petricka in, and an excellent push bunt past the pitcher to Berti allowed the go-ahead run to score.

But the Jays punched back. Kevin Pillar doubled leading off the 7th against reliever Chaz Roe, and Jose Alvarado was quickly summoned though he provided little relief. Rowdy reached on an error, Tesocar walked, and the bases were loaded for Randal Grichuk. He lined a ball down the right field line, clearing the bases and ending up on third with a triple. The Jays couldn’t get him in with just one out, but it proved to be just barely a decisive margin.

To be frank, I dozed off shortly after this point and didn’t catch most of the rest of this game, which is why the recap is so late going up. Anyway, Joe Biagini had another short and ineffective outing, issuing a walk, single and strikeout before Jose Fernandez got the last two outings. Unfortunately, he in turn got shelled coming back out for the 8th, allowing a leadoff home run and then a double to put the tying run in scoring position with none out.

But Ryan Tepera was tonight equal to the task, as he got a pair of strikeouts and a flyout to strand Mallex Smith right where he stood. Ken Giles nailed down another save, striking out a pair around a single, and getting the last out on a 3-0 popout in foul territory down the left field line.

So, the Jays win in Tampa! On the flip side, it’s a bit of an empty Pyrrhic victory, as combined with San Francisco’s loss, both teams now have identical 73-87 records and since the Giants were worse in 2017, they ascend to the #10 draft slot in 2019 for now. On August 31st, the Giants had a .500 record as the bottom’s fallen out.

Jays of the Day: Grichuk (+0.367 WPA), Tepera (+0.314), Giles (+0.199), Berti (+0.155), Teoscar (+0.108), Rowdy (+0.097), Pillar (+0.094).

Suckage: Pannone (-0.286), Solarte (-0.225), Fernandez (-0.158), McGuire (-0.092). Honourable mention to Biagini and Petricka for getting very close to the number despite only facing three batters each and getting one out.

Tomorrow is a rematch of last weekend’s tilt between Ryan Borucki and Blake Snell at 6:05 EDT as both Snell and Justin Verlander will be looking to solidify their cases for the Cy Young.