What. A. Game.
The Rays went into today’s game with a singleminded determination, and their goal was to sweep the best-of-three Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Early on in the second game of the series, it was clear they weren’t messing around with that mission.
The pitching matchup was one for the ages, but Tyler Glasnow, who struggled early in the season, was locked in immediately; meanwhile Hyun-Jin Ryu was off his game right out of the gate.
After a one-two-three first for Glasnow, Ryu gave up a single to Mike Brosseau — who was then tagged out trying to stretch it into a double — then gave up singles to Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe. Manuel Margot continued his red hot postseason with a single to score Arozarena, letting the Rays draw first blood. Hunter Renfroe made it safely to first on a throwing error, but the Rays did not score any additional runs on the inning.
Glasnow gave up two singles in the top of the second, but without any damage. In the bottom of the second things went from bad to worse for Ryu, with a single to Kevin Kiermaier, followed by a two-run homer from Mike Zunino. Arozarena doubled, Yandy Diaz walked, and Margot got safely to first on a throwing error by Bichette (his second in as many innings). Then Hunter Renfroe came to the plate and the rest is history (literally) as he hit the first grand slam in Rays postseason history, bringing the score quite suddenly to 7-0.
Willy Adames singled after Renfroe off of relief pitcher Ross Stripling, Ryu’s game ending after the grand slam. The Rays did not score any more runs on the inning, however.
Jays catcher Danny Jansen, hitting ninth, blasted a solo home run off Glasnow to start the third inning. Bichette walked, but the Jays had to settle for one run. In the bottom of the inning, Arozarena continued his incredible game, doubling to score Brousseau, who had singled ahead of him, bringing the score to 8-1.
The fourth inning was uneventful for both teams, but Jansen returned to face Glasnow in the fifth, and once again hit a lead-off solo home run. The remainder of the fifth and sixth innings were quiet for both teams, and Glasnow finished his game at the end of the sixth. His final line for the day was 6.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 8K, 2HR on 86 pitches. He had to be very happy with his postseason 2020 performance compared to last year.
Kevin Cash played a bit with the bullpen in the seventh inning, with Aaron Loup and Ryan Thompson pitching a clean seventh with only one hit between the two of them, a single to Joe Panik.
The eighth was clean for both parties, and then in a surprising move Cash returned to Nick Anderson for the final three outs of the game. The Rays also briefly had a four-man outfield, which was interesting to see. With Anderson on the Jays went one two three in the ninth, and the Rays, well... the Rays punched a ticket to the ALDS for the second year in a row.
Rays win 8-2.
Win the Wild Card 2-0.