The Rays notched their first victory of the season, knocking off the Blue Jays 4-1 behind a strong outing from Ryan Yarbrough, timely hitting, fun pinch running, and (mostly) solid bullpen work.
The Rays loaded up the lineup with lefties against Blue Jay starter Matt Shoemaker, but it would take a while to get things going.
Ryan Yarbrough kept the Jays off balance early, relying heavily on his cutter and change up. He ended up working five and two-thirds scoreless innings, giving up four hits, a walk, and recording one strikeout.
He also got an assist from his defensive positioning in the first, as the Rays again featured a four-man outfield against Cavan Biggio. Biggio’s one-out hard single might very well have found a gap against a conventional outfield. Yarbrough then easily dispatched Gurriel and Guerrero Jr. to end the muted threat.
The Rays wasted a prime scoring chance in their half of the first. Brandon Lowe got it started, cueing an 0-2 splitter up the third base line for a one-out single. Yandy Diaz followed with a hard single to center, with Lowe taking third. But they were unable to cash in, as Yoshi Tsutsugo popped out on a first pitch curve, and Joey Wendle lobbed and 0-1 offering to third, ending the threat.
The Jays would have the next scoring opportunity of the game, when they loaded the bases in the fourth. Biggio started it, recording his second hit of the day with a leadoff single to right. A groundout to Adames then moved the runner into scoring position. After a Vlad lineout, Yarbs walked Shaw and gave up a Grichuk single off his glove to load the bases. But Ryan wiggled out of the jam, coaxing a flyout from Teoscar Hernandez to center.
Yarbrough’s day would end In the sixth. After he finally retired Biggio on a funky basket catch by Margot in right, Gurriel then blooped a single to left, where Brandon Lowe was unable to make a sliding catch. Cash then made the call for Chaz Roe after 69 pitches from Yarbs.
Guerrero then singled on a 3-2 fastball, putting runners on first and second. But Roe bounced back by striking out Shaw on three pitches, the last being cutter/slider over the inside corner. The threat ended with a Grichuk liner to center off a first pitch slider, where KK made a sliding grab to end the inning.
The Rays finally broke through in the sixth. Michael Perez worked a walk after a long at bat leading off, setting the table for the top of the order. He was replaced at first by pinch runner Mike Brosseau. Ji-Man Choi then collected the first Ray’s hit since the first inning, doubling in the gap off a 2-1 heater. Brosseau got a great read, scoring all the way from first, and making Cash look like a genius.
Lowe, Diaz, and Tsutsugo were unable to inflict any more damage, but the Rays had their first lead of the season!
The lead was short lived.
Pete Fairbanks got the call for the seventh inning against the bottom of the order. Fairbanks K’d Hernandez to start the inning on a nasty slider. He then gave up a dinger to Reese McGuire on a hanging slider.
Fairbanks then struck out pinch hitter Joe Panik easily, before falling behind Bichette, who singled off the glove of Choi. A four pitch walk Biggio followed, ending Fairbanks day.
Sorry, I just don’t see what the Rays find so appealing in this guy. Million dollar arm, five cent head.
Luckily, we have Nick Anderson, who made quick work of Gurriel to end the threat, getting him to pop out to Zunino on the first pitch. Anderson then came back out for the eighth, working around a one-out single from Shaw and notching a scoreless frame.
With one out against Sam Gavigilio on the bottom of the frame, Mike Zunino (yes, Mike Zunino!) served a single to center. He was replaced at first by pinch runner Hunter Renfroe. Would history repeat itself? Not exactly. This time it was better!
Choi drew a five pitch walk, setting the table for Brandon Lowe, who promptly rocked a triple into the gap.
✌️ more added!— FOX Sports Sun: Rays (@FOXSportsRays) July 25, 2020
Brandon Lowe drives in Hunter Renfroe and Ji-Man Choi on his triple! @RaysBaseball up 3-1!
Watch more #RaysUp action on FOX Sports Sun & FOX Sports Go: https://t.co/nWrNtkerQ5 pic.twitter.com/ocBoz9Acpb
Next, with Diaz batting, Gaviglio balked, scoring Lowe.
That doesn’t look very socially distant, fellas.
Oliver Drake got the call to close it out, retiring McGuire, Panik, and Bichette in order.
Tomorrow’s wrap up game is at 1:10 PM.