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Rays 9, Blue Jays 2: A nice all-around win for once

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Happy belated birthday, Dewayne Staats! Canada is a day behind.

vintage staats 3
Happy birthday to you!

The Rays got out to an early 1-0 lead on the fourth pitch of the game, thanks to a sexy Logan Forsythe home run. The adjective “sexy” can modify either “Logan Forsythe” or “home run” in this particular case, and is one of the reasons why the English language is a hot mess. But it’s our Britain’s hot mess and we’ve gotta stick by it. Kind of like the Rays!

Our persistence and faith paid off in the bottom of the inning. Drew Smyly allowed a double and a walk to Bautista and Josh Donaldson, but managed to worm his way out of that jam without allowing a home run.

The Rays looked to get something cooking in the third, but eventually stranded the bases loaded. Luke Maile and Kevin Kiermaier singled to put runners on the corners, and Evan Longoria walked. Brad Miller, hottest Ray on the team for the past week or so, seemed poised to break the game open, but instead struck out on a pitch significantly better than the ball strike he struck out looking at last night. That is to say, it wasn’t a foot above the plate. Suffice it to say I’m still a little bitter about it. Anyway Mikie Mahtook popped up on the next pitch to end the threat.

Logan Forsythe kept the RBI party rolling with another run-scoring single. It was ruled a hit, but frankly a sloppy play by Jays second baseman Devon Travis allowed Corey Dickerson (who started the inning with a seven-pitch walk) to score from second. An inning later, Brad Miller, perhaps sensing his missed opportunity earlier that game, connected on a full count pitch that split the defenders and put him on second base. The much-maligned Steven Souza Jr. managed to bring him home with two outs. Tim Beckham, the next batter, launched a foul ball that the Rays wanted to take another look at. The umpires got together and concluded that it was indeed a foul ball, but only by a couple of inches. No more runs came out of the inning, but still, the Rays went up 3-0 quickly.

The next inning was the only one in which the Blue Jays scored any runs at all. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases with no outs against Drew Smyly. The Artist Formally Known as B.J. Upton entered, seemingly with a perfect opportunity to put the Jays on top with one swing of the bat. Upton collected only a sac fly, however. The next batter, Devon travis, made up for his fielding gaffe by collecting another run for the Jays, however that was all that the got for this inning, and the game as a whole.

The Rays struck back immediately in the sixth, however. Kiermaier walked and Evan Longoria quickly doubled him home, giving the Rays a two run lead once more. Mikie Mahtook also collected a run before the inning was over, retaking the full pre-inning lead. And they didn’t stop there.

The next inning was particularly fun. Before that two-run single you can read about in the picture, the Rays scored two more, thanks to Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier. By the end of the game, the top of the Rays order (1-4 batters) went 10-for-20 (.500) with three walks and 6 RBIs. Not a bad night for a teams that’s been struggling offensively. Smyly, too, bounced back with a six inning, two-tun outing on only 83 pitches. Erasmo Ramirez went the final three innings and allowed neither a hit nor a walk. He collected the three-inning save.

Tomorrow the Rays look to take the rubber match in this series behind the wunderkind Blake Snell. They’ll be facing J.A. Happ (15-3, 2.09). Holy crap, is that right? J.A. Happ has 15 wins? With a 2.09 ERA? What the hell? Baseball is weird.