The Rays welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays to Tropicana Field for the first game of a four-game series.
Austin Pruitt started this game for the Rays in his second big league start, facing off against Trent Thornton and the Blue Jays.
Bo Bichette led this game off with a 13-pitch at-bat, sending the 13th pitch over the right field wall to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. Pruitt settled down after the leadoff homer, striking out the next batter, Cavan Biggio. After giving up the home run, Pruitt would go on to strike out three of his next 13 batters.
In the bottom of the fourth, Austin Meadows hit a double to left field to lead off the inning, bringing Tommy Pham to the plate. Pham hit a grounder to short and Bichette made the throw to first baseman Justin Smoak, but the ball flew out of Smoak’s glove and into right field when tagging Pham, allowing Meadows to score from second and moving Pham up to second.
Ji-Man Choi drew a walk to put two runners on for Travis d’Arnaud with no outs, but d’Arnaud flew out. Kevin Kiermaier singled on a bloop to left field, loading the bases with only one out for Avisail Garcia. Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Pham and giving the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Joey Wendle doubled with one out in the top of the fifth, and after Austin Meadows was hit by a pitch and Tommy Pham flew out, Ji-Man Choi drew a walk to load the bases for Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud ran the count full, but didn’t need to swing to bring home a run, watching ball four with the bases loaded and increasing the Rays’ lead to 3-1.
Pruitt worked five strong innings for the Rays, allowing only one run on a solo home run against the very first batter he faced. Pruitt struck out four, walked one and allowed four hits while throwing 81 pitches. Hoby Milner entered the game to pitch the top of the sixth, but hit Cavan Biggio. Biggio would be the only batter Milner would see, as Chaz Roe was brought in.
Roe struck out one while allowing a hit, with that hit bringing home Biggio and cutting the lead down to 3-2. Roe recorded an out before Colin Poche came in, and Poche struck out the only two batters he faced, ending the sixth inning.
Avisail Garcia hit a triple to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and scored on a fielding error when Nate Lowe hit a ball to left fielder Derek Fisher, who couldn’t catch a routine flyball, extending the lead to 4-2 Rays.
Oliver Drake entered the game in the top of the seventh, striking out two and allowing a single before facing Bo Bichette. Bichette launched a game-tying, two-run home run into the left field stands, with Drake striking out Cavan Biggio to end the inning.
Buddy Boshers was brought in for the Blue Jays, and Austin Meadows made Charlie Montoyo regret that decision, hitting an opposite-field homer into the first row of the left field seats, taking back the lead, 5-4 Rays. Jason Adam entered the game to relieve Boshers, and Tommy Pham welcomed Adam with a double to right field.
After Ji-Man Choi flew out, Travis d’Arnaud came up to the plate with Pham still on second. Pham took off for third base, and thanks to a bad throw by McGuire, Pham joined BJ Upton as the only two Rays to steal 20 bases and hit 20 home runs in the same season.
Diego Castillo entered the game to work the top of the eighth, working through a one-out walk to strike out the final two batters in the inning looking.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Joey Wendle hit an infield single off of Ryan Tepera. Austin Meadows drove Wendle home with a double to right field, extending the Rays’ lead to 6-4.
In the top of the ninth, Emilio Pagan entered the game to try and close this one out. Justin Smoak popped out to Daniel Robertson in foul territory for the first out, but the next batter, Reese McGuire, hit a double to center field. Pagan walked Derek Fisher before Bo Bichette grounded into a fielder’s choice to record the second out. Cavan Biggio flew out to center field to end this game, giving the Rays the victory to open the series.
The Rays did what they needed to do to open this four-game series up, taking the first game against Toronto and capitalizing on the many miscues by the Blue Jays. The second game of the series will be back on FOX Sports Sun tomorrow night with first pitch set for 7:10 pm.