After an emotion-fueled ending to last night's game north of the border, the Rays took the field at Rogers' Centre Tuesday looking to do what they couldn't last night: Play the role of spoiler in the AL East. With the Rays occupying the dank, dusty basement of the division by a large margin and the Jays fighting for the AL East title with the BoSox, every game counts for Toronto and none of them really do for Tampa Bay.
Drew Smyly led the Rays in that effort and successfully kept the Blue Jays in search of that 80th win of the year. Smyly threw 101 pitches over 5.2 innings, striking out four and walking only one Blue Jay en route to his seventh win of the year.
His lone mistake that cost him on the scoreboard was a no-doubter of a home run off the bat of catcher Russell Martin. With one on and two away, Martin was clearly sitting on a curveball when Smyly tried to drop one in middle-inside. Martin took a big hack and it paid off, pulling the Blue Jays within one run in the sixth inning.
The Rays had built a 3-0 lead on a three-run homer by new Rays' shortstop Alexei Ramirez. After trading zeroes with Smyly through the first five innings, Toronto starter Marcus Stroman gave up a double to Corey Dickerson and a walk to Steven Souza Jr. When he faced Ramirez, he threw a pitch that broke towards the dirt, but Ramirez broke out the pitching wedge and launched it into the Blue Jays' bullpen.
Speaking of Souza Jr., have yourself a night, sir! The Rays' right fielder showed some welcomed patience at the plate, going 1-for-1 with three walks and a run scored on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth. His one hit was a solo shot in the seventh inning to straight away left field, making up for the home run he (and Martin) thought he had last night before it was caught and the benches cleared.
In fact, it was Souza Jr.'s home run that keyed the bullpen implosion the Rays took advantage of tonight. Souza's came off of Joe Biagini before the Jays needed four pitchers to get three outs in the ninth (granted Brett Cecil worked a clean eighth inning). Matt Dermody came on as a lefty specialist to get Dickerson; however, Dickerson reached on an infield single. Enter Scott Feldman. Feldman would walk Souza Jr., give up a single to Ramirez, and walk Bobby Wilson before getting Logan Forsythe to ground into a fielders' choice, scoring Dickerson and advancing Souza to third.
Aaron Loup would like to forget tonight's game, also. He only got to face one batter, but allowed Souza Jr. to score on a wild pitch and plunked Kevin Kiermaier to give the Rays two baserunners once more. Mercifully for Toronto, Ryan Tepera came on and got Evan Longoria to ground out to short to end the inning.
Erasmo Ramirez came on to shut the door for Tampa Bay and did so beautifully. A three pitch ground out, a four pitch strikeout, and a five pitch fly out was all the work he needed to close out Tuesday night's affair in the Great White North.
Game Day Thread Comment Winner:
"Can't believe you idiots were knocking the Ramirez signing."