I’m going to be honest: after five innings I started writing my “Snell a hard-luck loser as Rays get shutout” recap. Because for the first half of the game, not much happened, what did happen went the Blue Jays way, and Marco Estrada hadn’t even broken a sweat.
Snell was not dominant, but he was tough tonight. He worked six innings, and gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. The only run he gave up came on a soft single off the label by Edwin Encarnacion in the third that scored Devon Travis and made the score 1-0 Blue Jays. That’s where the score would stay for a while.
But it wasn’t an easy six for Snell. Despite the relatively few number of walks, he worked a number of deep counts, and the Blue Jay hitters worked several extended at bats. Snell didn’t give in to the tough Toronto lineup. A perfect example came in the second. Snell retired the first two hitters on just three pitches, then labored through a 12 pitch at bat against Dioner Navarro before finally getting the catcher to foul out to first.
Snell wasn’t helped by a zone from Brian O’Nora that was — uh — experimental.
Marco Estrada, thanks in part to the wonky zone and in part to some damn fine pitching, was cruising. Until he wasn’t.
Busting it Open
Bobby Wilson started the sixth inning with a ducksnort that landed out of reach of the first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, and Logan Forsythe followed with a hard single to left. With Josh Donaldson playing way in, Kevin Kiermaier squared to bunt, then offered at a pitch that was really too high to do anything with. Yet somehow he got it down. Not only that, the fleet centerfielder even managed to beat out Donaldson’s throw to first in addition to advancing the runners. Bases loaded.
Evan Longoria followed with a ground ball single to left, scoring BWil, then Brad Miller walked to push across Frosty, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead. Estrada fell behind the next hitter, Matt Duffy, who proceeded tattoo a 2-1 cutter off the wall in left, clearing the bases and giving the Rays a 5-1 lead.
Huge spot for @mm_duffy to have a 3-RBI game, his most as a Ray.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 4, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/hp73LuBKmO #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/SqUQmdrlID
In the seventh inning, Kevin Kiermaier grew tired of bunting. His two-run shot off the right field foul pole scored Logan Forsythe — who had his third single of the day earlier — and gave the Rays a nice 7-1 cushion. And we all know that you can never have too much cushion against the Blue Jays.
Things Get Dicey
Erasmo Ramirez worked a scoreless seventh, giving up a single and a walk in the process, and Ryan Garton worked a clean eighth. And then Enny Romero came on.
Coming into today, Romero had worked five and a third innings since coming off the DL, surrendering no hits and three walks while striking out ten. Exiting today, the numbers would not look quite so rosy.
He walked Russell Martin on seven pitches. He walked Troy Tulowitzki six pitches. Inexplicably, Melvin Upton Jr. swung at the first pitch and popped out. (Or explicably, because we’re Rays fans and we’ve seen Beej be Beej.) There was a wild pitch. Then Dioner Navarro grounded out, scoring Martin to make it a 7-2 game. But look! Two outs! It’s almost over!
It was not almost over.
Kevin Pillar walked, then moved to second on defensive indifference. Devon Travis followed with a single, scoring Tulo and Pillar, making it a 7-4 game and earning Enny Romero the hook. Alex Colome entered a game that we led by six runs headed into the ninth inning. That can’t happen.
Colome gave up back-to-back sharp singles to Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson. Devon Travis scored, making it 7-5. The tying run was on first, and go-ahead run came to the plate in the person of Edwin Encarnacion. Thankfully, Colome got EE to hit an 0-1 cutter off the end of the bat, and the fly ball to left came to rest in Corey Dickerson’s glove.
- Every Rays hitter reached base, with only Corey Dickerson failing to record a hit
- KK’s homer was the first Joe Biagini had surrendered all season.
- Has anyone else noticed that Logan Morrison’s swing looks like Charles Barkley’s golf swing?