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This is the third time the Tampa Bay Rays would pay a series against the Toronto Blue Jays but this will be their first trip to Rogers Centre. The Rays are looking to make up the group they lost after being swept by the Seattle Mariners away then dropping 2 outta 3 to the Oakland Athletics at home. Going into the series the Rays were 3 games under .500 and 2 games behind the Blue Jays sitting at 4th place in the AL East. If they want to catch the Baltimore Orioles something has got to give before the get too behind to recover and this series would be a good place to start.
The series begins on a Monday night games after a tough loss at home Sunday. Even with the losses, one positive thing came out of it; 2 of the 3 games the Rays scored 6 runs. With the bats getting hot, the Rays could not have been scheduled to come to Toronto at a better time.
The Rays started the game strong in the first with a 2 run shot by Steve Pearce, 2-0 Rays. The 2nd inning was no different from the first. A sacrifice fly by Kevin Kiermaier allows Desmond Jennings to score, 3-0 Rays. Later in the 2nd a 2 run home run by Tim Beckham makes the score 5-0 Rays. Then with Evan Longoria and Pearce on base, Steven Souza Jr. stepped to the plate and singled home Longoria, 6-0 Rays. Then as if to add insult to injury, Curt Casali hits a 3 run shot scoring Pearce and Souza Jr, 9-0 Rays. The Rays scoring continues in the 4th when Desmond Jennings doubled to score Longoria and Souza Jr, 11-0 Rays.
There was a slight break in the of the shower on runs that the Rays were raining down on the Blue Jays in the 5th inning when Jose Bautista singled and Josh Donaldson scores, 11-1 Rays. The 6th and 7th innings were quiet for both teams but in the 8th when Pearce singles in Logan Morrison, 12-1 Rays. Also in the 8th, Blue Jays 1st baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion singled in Ezequiel Carrera, 12-2 Rays. The close out the game, the icing on the “runs scored” cake, Jennings belts his 2nd home run of the game and closed on the game with a score of 13-2.
W: Drew Smyly (2-4) L: J. A. Happ (5-1)
Not that many games in a series are more important than another, but if value could be placed, this game is important. Why you ask? It is a rematch of Rays ace Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman, both of which were the starters for the first game of the season. Both pitchers have had 2 prior starts against the other’s team. Stroman had won both his and Archer, who had a rough start to the season, was winless against the Blue Jays. He had been getting his groove back in his last few starts, and could only hope in combination with the Rays hot bats he could pull off a win.
The Rays waste no time and quickly score in the first inning with a double off the bat of Pearce that scores Longoria, 1-0 Rays. Unlike last night, the Blue Jays were quick to respond and with a 2 run homer from Bautista, 2-1 Blue Jays. We will later find out that these are only only runs surrendered by Archer or any of the Rays pitching staff. The game was tied in the 2nd when Casali grounds out, but it allows Morrison to score and Kiermaier move to 3rd, 2-2. On a single by Brandon Guyer, Kiermaier is able to score, 3-2 Rays. But wait there is more. On a line drive triple by Brad Miller, Guyer heads for home and the score goes to 4-2 Rays. In the 3rd inning Morrison hits a fielder’s choice, but Souza Jr is allowed to score 5-2.
The onslaught of runs continues into the 5th inning. Singles by Morrison and Kiermaier allow 2 more runs to score, 7-2 Rays. In the 7th inning Kiermaier scores on an error by AL MVP Josh Donaldson, 8-2. Also in the 7th, Miller hit a 2 run double to score Casali and Guyer, 10-2 Rays. The game closes out with a 2 run homer for rookie Tyler Motter, 12-2 Rays.
Archer kept his cool after Bautista’s home run, the run support he needed, and got the win.
W: Archer (3-4) L: Stroman (4-1)
The last game of the series and the Rays have the chance to get their 2nd sweep of the season. Is it possible that the Rays can keep this pace and continue this win streak? If Jake Odorizzi has anything to say about it, yes.
The Blue Jays started the scoring in the 2nd inning with a solo home run by Jimmy Perades, 1-0 Blue Jays. Bats were quiet for both teams until the 4th when Morrison and Jennings hit back-to-back home runs of R. A. Dickey, 2-1 Rays. In the 5th inning Longoria kept the scoring going with a soft ground ball to 3rd and Beckham was able to score on an error by Perades, 3-1 Rays. Also in the 5rh, the Blue Jays respond with a home run off the bat of Michael Saunders, 3-2 Rays. In the 6th, Kiermaier homers to right for 2 more runs, 5-2 Rays. The Blue Jays last rally would be a solo shot off the bat of Encarnacion, 5-3 Rays. The Rays will score one more run in the 9th off a wild pitch by Gavin Floyd, 6-3.
W: Odorizzi (1-2) L: Dickey (2-5) SV: Colome (10)
I have 3 take aways from this series:
- Logan Morrison can hit. He had a total of 5 hits during the series including his first home run of the season. It could be all the extra batting practice paying off or just a long adjustment to a new club house, but whatever it is, it looks good. Keep those hits coming Morrison.
- All the Rays are swinging hot bats right now. Over the course of this series they scored an astounding 31 runs. It is difficult to call out the accolades of any one player, because it truly seems like everyone is doing their part to score. The Rays are getting on base and making hits more productive. This a trend I and all fans could be use to seeing.
- Pitching is still dominate. Smyly, Archer and Odorizzi had great starts and collectively held the Blue Jays to 5 runs. The bullpen also put in a stellar performance only allowing 2 runs over the series.
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