With two wins down and two games to go in the series, the Rays looked to secure the series win at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Charlie Morton took the mound for the Rays, looking to build on the success from his strong outing against Cleveland with another good start at home. Additionally, this recap was typed live from great seats in section 107 of Tropicana Field.
Anthony Kay, who Toronto acquired for Marcus Stroman at this year’s trade deadline, started this game for the Blue Jays, making his Major League debut tonight.
Charlie was strong through his first four innings, striking out six while throwing only 55 pitches. Anthony Kay was good as well, until he ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth.
Avisail Garcia started the bottom of the fourth with a single to third base that Vlad Jr. couldn’t scoop up, and Tommy Pham followed that up with a bloop single to right field, moving Garcia up to third. Austin Meadows drove Garcia home with a single up the middle.
After Jesus Aguilar flew out, Matt Duffy came up and got hit by a pitch, loading the bases and bringing Willy Adames up to the plate after Kevin Kiermaier struck out. Adames drew a four-pitch walk, scoring Pham and extending the Rays’ lead to 2-0.
Morton dominated his first two times through the Toronto order, striking out eight while not allowing any runs. Third time through, however, is where Morton found himself in trouble.
After a single, a double and a walk, Reese McGuire hit a one-out single to cut the lead in half, 2-1. Another single, this time by Jonathan Davis, tied the game at 2-2. Billy McKinney hit a sac fly to give Toronto the lead, 3-2, before Morton struck out Derek Fisher to end the inning.
Anthony Kay left the game after putting two runners on via the walk with two outs, but pinch-hitter Nate Lowe struck out against Jason Adam to end the inning with the Rays still down by one.
Morton’s day was done after six innings of work, and although he allowed three earned runs on five hits with two walks, he struck out 10 after throwing 92 pitches, with 64 of them for strikes. 10 strikeouts means free tacos!
Colin Poche entered the game to pitch the top of the seventh, and looked strong in the inning with a strikeout and two flyouts. Seventh inning stretch time!
Kean Wong entered the game, pinch-hitting for Mike Zunino and recording his first Major League hit with a single to right field. Daniel Robertson stepped up to the plate and with a full count, ripped a line drive into left field, scoring Wong from first and tying this game at 3-3 with still no outs. The game-tying run would be the only run to score in the inning.
Nick Anderson was brought in to pitch the top of the eighth, facing Toronto’s 5-6-7 hitters. Michael Perez was brought in to catch for Anderson. Anderson allowed a first-pitch leadoff double to Justin Smoak, but that was it, getting the next three batters out on 16 pitches, 13 for strikes.
With Jordan Romano pitching for Toronto, Ji-Man Choi pinch-hit for Matt Duffy and drew a walk to get the bottom of the eighth going. Meanwhile, and more importantly, the wave has begun in the crowd and it’s a healthy one tonight. Back to things that actually matter, Kevin Kiermaier hit a double down the right field line to put two runners in scoring position for Joey Wendle, but Wendle grounded out for the first out. Tim Mayza entered the game to pitch to Wendle, but was replaced after recording the first out.
With Travis d’Arnaud announced as a pinch-hitter for Michael Perez, Charlie Montoyo brought in Ryan Tepera to pitch, while Michael Brosseau came in to pitch-run for Choi at third. d’Arnaud did exactly what he needed to do and scored Choi with a sacrifice fly to deep right field, giving the Rays a 4-3 lead. The scoring didn’t stop there, as Daniel Robertson hit a single into right field, scoring Kiermaier and extending the lead to 5-3.
Oliver Drake entered the game in the top of the ninth to try and close this one out, warming up to Drake’s “Started from the Bottom.” Teoscar Hernandez was the first batter to face Drake and struck out with a full count, bringing Bo Bichette to the plate. Bichette struck out swinging, bringing Cavan Biggio up as Toronto’s last hope.
Drake struck Biggio out to end this one, securing the series victory for the Rays against the Blue Jays. Every facet of Tampa Bay’s game today was strong, with a late-inning comeback topping it off.
The Rays will look for the sweep tomorrow afternoon, with Tyler Glasnow opening against Jacob Waguespack for Toronto, first pitch scheduled for 1 pm.