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Blue Jays strike back with 10-3 win in avoiding Rays sweep

Let us Tellez you all about Rowdy’s debut and first MLB hit

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Rays 3 Blue Jays 10

Some bizarre combination of hell freezing over and a warp in space-time occurred tonight at the Rogers Centre, as the Jays not only managed the once-in-a-blue-moon feat of beating the Rays in 2018, but did so in style.

Over the previous two nights, the Jays put up a total of 7 hits. They almost matched that in the first inning tonight, falling just shy with 6 en route to 16 on the evenings. Starter Aaron Sanchez has a very good top of the first, and by the time the bats were done in their half of the inning, Tyler Glasnow was the least successful opener of the series for the Rays as he didn’t make it out of the inning.

The Jays scored 7 runs in sending 12 men to plate. Billy McKinney walked leading off, followed by singles from Devon Travis, Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The latter three plated a run each, before Aledmys Diaz struck the big blow with a three home run that truly made the game a boatrace. They still weren’t done, as after a walk and McKinney reached on a dropped third strike, Travis singled in the last run.

Staked to a huge lead, Sanchez was decided not as sharp as in the first inning. With one out he gave up a home run to Kevin Kiermaier, which in itself was no big deal, but then proceeded to load the bases on a walk and two singles. Another run was forced home on a second walk, and the Rays were one big hit away from getting back into it. Happily, he struck out Matt Duffy to escape.

After that, Sanchez was back on autopilot, allowing just an infield single over the next three innings. In particular, I thought his curve was the best I’d seen it in a long time, as he was able to drop in for called strikes (freezing a number of batters) while breaking off nasty ones outside the zone with tight late break for swings-and-misses. He did benefit from a couple nice plays from Randal Grichuk in right field, in particular robbing Kiermaier up against the fence to end the 3rd.

Sanchez ran into a little trouble in the 6th, giving up another solo shot to Kiermaier and a single before securing the final two outs. It was far from a perfect outing, but one would happily take 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts over 6 innings every fifth day.

The bats didn’t stop in the first. In both the 2nd and 4th innings, they loaded the bases but stranded then, both ending on strikeouts of Jonathan Davis in his MLB debut. Leading off the 5th inning, McKinney pushed the lead out to 8-2, turning on a hanging curveball and hammering it out to right for a no doubter.

In the 6th, Diaz hit a double to add to his day, and with two out Rowdy Tellez pinch hit for Davis, also making his MLB debut. His was a little more successful, as he lined a ball to the right-centre gap to pick up his first MLB hit and RBI. The Jays added one last run for good measure in the 7th inning as Smoak, Morales and Grichuk all singled in a row.

Following Sanchez, Ryan Tepera had another poor showing in the 7th, walking a pair of batters. Tim Mayza worked another clean inning, and Ken Giles managed not only to avoid getting lit up in a non-save situations, but had a very tidy 9th with three routine groundouts.

On a bit of a sidenote, this wasn’t the only Rays-Jays battle happening, as the Midwest League playoffs got underway with the Bowling Green Hot Rods facing the Lugnuts. They pulled out a 4-3 squeaker in 10 innings, the 3rd run scoring on a two base sac fly, and the winning run scoring on from second on an infield single after having two on and none out. I at least got some satisfaction that the Appy League championship also wrapped up tonight with Rays’ affiliate Princeton (who knocked out Bluefield) losing to the Elizabethton Twins. And in AA, the Fisher Cats shutout Yankee affiliate Trenton 8-0 to take a 1-0 lead.

Jays of the Day: Just Diaz (+0.106 WPA) and Sanchez (+0.097) by the numbers. But just last night the suckage spread out through the lineup prevented anyone from getting the number, tonight the distributed barrage prevented many from hitting the number. So we’ll award JoTDs to Travis (+0.085) with three hits, Gurriel (+0.071) and Morales (+0.054) for the same. And one to Rowdy Tellez (+0.014) for the double to start his career.

Suckage: None. Jonathan Davis (-0.040) has the low number in his MLB debut, taking a sombrero in his three at-bats

Tomorrow, the Jays will welcome some old friends to town for a reunion, as Cleveland sends Justin Shane Beiber to the hill against Sam Gaviglio. 7:05 eastern, be there or be like almost everyone else and not there.