Blue Jays: 3, Rays: 7
Tonight was a rather forgettable game as the Jays predictably had trouble scoring runs off the Rays’ ace, and Kikuchi was in his uninspiring May form. At least quicker pace of play helped it to be a short loss.
The Rays scored as many runs in the first inning of this game as they did yesterday’s entire game. Yusei Kikuchi was less than stellar, and he managed to limit the damage, but the Rays struck first, and ran up his pitch count.
Luke Raley, who gave up the grand slam to Vladimir Guerrero Jr last night, led off the second inning with a solo shot to add to the lead. Jose Siri followed up with one of his own, to put the Rays up 3-0.
The Blue Jays had their work cut out for them against tough lefty Shane McClanahan. He retired 10 in a row until Bo Bichette hit a one-out double in the top of the fourth. A Vladdy single to right field drove in Bo for the lone run they’d score off McClanahan. Varsho managed a lone single in the 5th, and Matt Chapman had one in the 6th, but that was all they would muster against the starter.
The Rays gained the run back in the bottom of the fourth. Christian Bethancourt singled, and Manuel Margot tripled. Franco singled to score Margot and put the Rays ahead by four.
Nate Pearson took over for Kikuchi in the sixth, who dodged base traffic all evening. Pearson was hit by a comeback pitch on the foot, but seemed to be alright and pitched a clean inning. Less alright was Danny Jansen, who left the game with a sore groin muscle.
The fun began and ended in the 8th. Cavan Biggio hit his first career pinch hit homer off new pitcher Jason Adam, and Nathan Lukes collected his first career extra base hit with a standing triple. A George Springer groundout scored Lukes to give the Jays two runs. Bichette singled, stole second and Guerrero Jr walked to make things interesting. Sadly, new pitcher Kevin Kelly got Matt Chapman to hit into a double play, ending the rally.
Yimi Garcia hit Luke Raley, and gave up a single to Bethancourt, and a run on another single to Siri. Franco single Siri home, squashing all remaining hope and joy of anyone still watching.
Jays of the day: Vlad (+.110 WPA), Bichette deserves one, let’s give one to Biggio for the homer, and the game thread banterers who kept me company
Coulda been better: Kikuchi (-.305 WPA), Chapman (-.173 for the double play) and honorable to Garcia for killing the vibes
Tomorrow, we have an early game at 1:10ET. Alec Manoah will face off against Zach Eflin. And I’ll be sure to check the pitching matchups before volunteering to write any more recaps (I kid, Tom).