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A lot of promise in series split with division champion, Jays.

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GAME 1

Blue Jays 5  Rays 3

It was the second time in Rays history the Commissioner of MLB was in attendance along with the founder of Papa John’s Pizza and Norm from “Cheers” who threw out the first pitch also in the house. Chris Archer, who had a rough first inning, wound up finishing five strong with a club record 12 strikeouts on Opening Day. The Rays pitching staff as a whole would finish with a historic 16 Ks which set an Opening Day record that had stood for over 100 years. A 3-run rally late in the game that included Corey Dickerson’s first home run in a Rays uniform wasn’t enough as the Jays Marcus Stroman and the Jays would win game one of the four game Opening Series on Sunday.

WP: Stroman (1-0)  LP: Archer (0-1)  S: Osuna (1)

GAME 2

Blue Jays 5  Rays 3

It wasn’t the prettiest of starts for lefty Drew Smyly. The Blue Jays teed off on the Rays starter for three home runs in the first five innings courtesy of Josh Thole, Michael Saunders, and Josh Donaldson. Steven Souza Jr provided his first home run of the 2016 season in the second inning before the wheels came off Smyly in the third, fourth, and fifth. Kevin Kiermaier scored on a wild pitch from R.A. Dickey in the bottom of the fifth after hustling from first to third on a single in the previous at bat for the Rays second run to cut the lead to 5-2. A Kiermaier RBI single in the sixth was the last of the offense for Tampa Bay off Blue Jays pitching and they would fall to 0-2 on the season.

WP: Dickey (1-0)  LP: Smyly (0-1)  S: Osuna (2)

GAME 3

Rays 3  Blue Jays 2

Jake Odorizzi was masterful through 5.2 innings of 10 K, 2 run baseball but, once again, the Rays bats were silenced by the Jays pitching staff for seven innings save for a solo BOMB from Corey Dickerson in the fourth. Then, in the bottom of the eighth with one out, Logan Forsythe crushed his first home run of the season into the right field seats off Brett Cecil with Kiermaier aboard to put the Rays up 3-2. It was the first time in 38 games that Cecil had given up an earned run for the Jays. Alex Colome would make his season debut and pitch the final two innings to notch his and the Rays first win of 2016 – thanks to an overturned call on the new slide rule in the bottom of the ninth for a game-ending double play.

WP: Colome (1-0)  LP: Cecil (0-1)

GAME 4

Rays 5  Blue Jays 3

The wrap-up game of the four-game series was cruising along for Rays starter, Matt Moore, until the third inning when Josh Donaldson crushed a one-out, 3-run home run into the left field seats to break the scoreless tie. Tim Beckham stepped to the plate with the bases juiced in the bottom of the fourth inning to finally get the Rays on the board with a one-out single. Moore’s day was done after finishing five innings and 102 pitches. He did strike out six but walked two and hit a batter in his first start of 2016. For a record 18 straight games, the Rays hit a home run as Steven Souza Jr crushed his second of the season over the centerfield wall to cut the lead to 3-2. Erasmo Ramirez made his season debut in the eighth and set the Jays down in order. He was rewarded in the bottom of the inning when Souza Jr deposited his second home run of the day and third of the season into the new Ducky’s Deck in left center field for a 3-run bomb. Ramirez would slam the door in the top of the ninth to give the Rays a series split against the defending division champs.

WP: Ramirez (1-0)  LP: Floyd (0-1)

NEXT UP:

Rays get a day off Thursday before heading to Baltimore for a three-game series v the Orioles.

PROBABLES:

4/8 @ Baltimore: RHP Chris Archer (0-1, 3.60) v RHP Mike Wright (0-0, 0.00)

4/9 @ Baltimore: LHP Drew Smyly (0-1, 6.75) v TBD

4/10 @ Baltimore: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 1.59) v TBD

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