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Rays 3, Blue Jays 4: Ninth inning rally was too little, too late

Brendan McKay’s good outing was spoiled by a lack of offense, one that didn’t show up until it was too late

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After two very contrasting games to start the series, the Rays looked to take the rubber match from the Blue Jays for a fourth-straight series win.

Brendan McKay took the mound for the Rays for his sixth start in the Majors, facing off against Toronto’s opener Wilmer Font.

McKay was as perfect as possible in the first inning, striking out Bo Bichette, Freddy Galvis and Lourdes Gurriel Jr in order.

After a leadoff walk in the second inning, McKay struck out two more, sitting down Brandon Drury looking and Derek Fisher swinging to end the inning.

The Rays threatened in the bottom of the second, putting two runners in scoring position for Mike Zunino, but Zunino struck out to end the inning.

Wilmer Font’s day was done after he completed his first time through the Rays’ order, striking out five in 2.1 innings of work, allowing a hit and hitting a batter. Brock Stewart entered the game to work the bulk of the innings for the Blue Jays.

On the first pitch in the top of the fourth, Lourdes Gurriel Jr hit a home run that just got over the center field wall, giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. McKay got through the inning without allowing any additional runs and striking out two more batters, although his pitch count was ticking up rather quickly.

Once again in the bottom of the fourth, the Rays put two runners on base, but Kevin Kiermaier flew out and so the Rays to this point had stranded four runners on base, three of them in scoring position.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Freddy Galvis hit a ball into the right field wall for a ground rule double, but ultimately did not score.

Randal Grichuk hit a leadoff home run to start the top of the sixth inning, extending Toronto’s lead to 2-0. McKay allowed another hit after the homer, and that was the hit that ended his day. McKay worked five innings and struck out a career-high eight batters but allowed six hits and two runs on two solo shots. McKay threw a season-high 93 pitches with 69 for strikes.

Colin Poche entered the game in relief of McKay, and after getting the first out in the inning, Poche allowed a two-run home run to Derek Fisher to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead. McKay was charged with his third earned run of the game as he was responsible for the runner on base. Poche got out of the inning without allowing any additional runs.

Poche walked Bo Bichette to leadoff the top of the seventh, and left the game after recording two outs in the inning. Oliver Drake was called upon and threw only one pitch in the inning, as Mike Zunino threw out Bichette trying to steal second base. Justin Shafer entered the game to pitch the bottom of the seventh for the Blue Jays. Drake stayed in to pitch in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Shafer recorded the first two outs before Charlie Montoyo made a move to bring in Tim Mayza to face Austin Meadows. Meadows hit a ball off of the top of the center field wall, just short of a homer, but Avisail Garcia drove him home to put the Rays on the board. Jesus Aguilar pinch hit for Eric Sogard but grounded out to end the inning.

Chaz Roe entered the game to pitch the top of the ninth, striking out two while throwing 13 pitches. Ken Giles was brought in to try and close this one out for the Blue Jays.

Mike Brosseau flew out for the first out, but Kevin Kiermaier singled, bringing Mike Zunino to the plate. Zunino destroyed a 2-1 pitch to dead center field to bring the Rays within one. Willy Adames followed up the home run with a single, but Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham both struck out to cut the rally short and end this game.

While this game ended with a result that none of us wanted, the good news is that the team the Rays are battling with for the second Wild Card spot is currently losing. The Oakland Athletics are down 9-1 to the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning as of the time of this recap, so nothing in the standings should change following this loss.

The Rays begin a new series on Friday, flying to Seattle to take on the Mariners in the first game of a six-game West Coast road trip, with first pitch scheduled for 10 pm.