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Rays 11, Blue Jays 3: Relentless

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There is no letdown in this team as the Rays bounce back from a tough loss to overwhelm Toronto

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, you thought there would be a letdown after last night’s disheartening loss? You must not follow the 2018 Tampa Bay Rays. With the roof open on a windy night, the ball was flying in Toronto. And while the Blue Jays had some nifty highlights and probably amassed more total yards, the Rays never let off the throttle. There was no real turning point in this game, just overwhelming pressure. Twelve different Rays reached base, with seven different Rays scoring at least one run as Tampa Bay spanked the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3.

Sean Reid-Foley took the hill for Toronto, and though he looked solid out of the gate, it deteriorated quickly. The first two Rays were retired fairly quickly, but after Ji-Man Choi fell behind in the count, he managed to sneak a ground ball single through the right side. Reid-Foley then lost zone (a recurring Toronto theme), walking Tommy Pham and falling behind Joey Wendle. On a full count, Wendle skipped a grounder to first baseman Rowdy Tellez that tied the rookie into knots. It went through the wickets and into right field, scoring Choi and a hustling Pham, and sending Wendle to second on a two-base error.

Adames followed with a walk before Reid-Foley struck out Kiermaier to end the inning.

Opener Diego Castillo worked an efficient first in his only inning of work, throwing nine of his 15 pitches for strikes. Unfortunately, one of them ended up going 450 feet to centerfield.

2-1 Rays.

Jalen Beeks came on in the second, and things had an ominous beginning when Rowdy Tellez spanked one of his own deep to center. But not quite deep enough.

The Rays put runners on again in the second and third against Reid-Foley, but saw a two-on, no-out chance get short circuited by a Mallex Smith double play in the second and a one out walk by Pham come to naught in the third. But they were back at it in the fourth, when Jake Bauers — after an ground rule double — was chased home by a Mallex Smith double to left.

3-1 Rays

The Jay continued their infatuation with straight away center in the bottom of the inning, when Lourdes Gurriel hammered an 0-2 cutter from Beeks over the wall.

3-2 Rays.

Next up was Randal Grichuk. After falling behind 3-0, Beeks challenged him. This...was not a good idea. Another solo dinger to — you guessed it — straight away center. Tie game.

Fortunately for the Rays, this still only counts as one.

The Rays came right back in top of the fifth with a ground ball double up the right field line by Ji-Man Choi and a line drive triple from Tommy Pham that was absolutely smoked.

4-3 Rays.

Note: Choi seemed to hobble as he pulled into second base. He would stay in the game and scored on the Pham triple, but was pulled an inning later with knee soreness.

That would be it for Reid-Foley. 4+ innings, 6 hits, 4 walks, and 5 strikeouts.

The Jays brought the infield in, but it wouldn’t be needed, as new Toronto pitcher Jose Fernandez worked out of the jam. He induced a Joey Wendle foul out, then K’d Willy Adames looking at a borderline curveball. Finally, Kevin Kiermaier was initially ruled safe on a 3-1 putout attempt that temporarily gave the Rays a two run lead. But after a challenge, replay correctly determined Fernandez had just barely beaten KK to the bag.

Adam Kolarek came on for the fifth, closing the books on Beeks at three innings, two runs, a walk, and two strikeouts.

Kolarek was fine. Mallex Smith, on the other hand, was more than fine. He made his second dynamic catch of the night, saving his pitcher from trouble before it could start.

A one out single from Cron (pinch hitting for Ciuffo) and walk from Smith in the sixth brought another Toronto pitching change as righty Mark Leiter took over. Matt Duffy greeted him by ripping a single past Gurriel to load the bases for new DH Austin Meadows, who was taking over for the injured Choi. Leiter fell behind 3-0, then grooved a fastball that Meadows stroked to right for a two-run single.

6-3 Rays.

Tommy Pham followed by faking out DeWayne Staats on the fly to the warning track. The good news is, it was plenty deep enough to score Duffy from third.

7-3 Rays.

Meadows then picked up his first Rays stolen base. And when you have a free base to put Joey Wendle, you just have to put him there. First and second, and the end of tough night for Leiter. Enter former Ray prospect Taylor Guerrieri to try and get the Jays out of this.

TG did get ahead of Willy Adames 0-2, but Adames battled back to line a 2-2 fastball over the second baseman, scoring Meadows.

8-3 Rays.

Kiermaier followed by working a walk, bringing Jake Bauers up to the plate for the second time in the inning. He struck out for the second time. Which is fine, because if somebody didn’t make the outs, we’d be here all night.

With Kolarek still working in the bottom of the sixth, Gurriel got the first non-dinger hit for the Jays, a single to center. Progress!

With two outs, a runner on first, and Grichuk due up, Cash called on Hunter Wood. Wood, looking fabulous with the wind whipping through his stunning mane, got a short fly to center to end the threat.

The game continued to crawl along in the seventh. With one out, Mallex Smith was drilled in the calf with a 2-1 sinker, and Matt Duffy worked an excruciatingly long walk. Austin Meadows followed by slapping a 2-1 sinker the other way, scoring Smith.

9-3 Rays. Let’s see if Danny Barnes can throw strikes.

Welp, not to first anyway. His pickoff throw bounced past Tellez, scoring Duffy and sending Meadows to second.

10-3 Rays. Is a seven run lead safe? Maybe. But let’s tack on just to be safe. Joey Wendle knocked his 30th double of the year over the head of Grichuk, scoring Meadows.

11-3 Rays.

In the ninth, with Petricka pitching, Austin Meadows — who, remember, didn’t come into the game until the sixth — collected his third hit of the night, a one-out double to right. And though Pham followed by singling to center to put runners on the corners, the Rays were unable to add to their lead. And you really hope this doesn’t come back to haunt them!

LOL no it didn’t. Austin Pruitt, who had entered in the seventh, worked three scoreless, giving up three hits, while picking up the save. No, really. It’s in the rules. Oh, and Jalen Beeks got the win, if you care about that sort of thing.

Your still-not-mathematically-eliminated Rays take on the Jays again tomorrow at 4:00 PM.