The Rays are home, opening a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, who lead the AL Wild Card. JT Chargois opened for the Rays, while Jose Berrios started for the Blue Jays.
Almost time to kick off a four-game set to finish off the home slate of the ‘22 regular season pic.twitter.com/ZikmYh6qXp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 22, 2022
Toronto struck first in this one, with George Springer hitting a leadoff triple and Bo Bichette bringing him home with a one-out double. A strikeout of Alejandro Kirk and a Matt Chapman pop out ended the first with only one run against Chargois.
Jonathan Aranda evened this game on the second pitch he saw, hitting a leadoff home run over the right field wall. Leaving his bat at 107 mph, Aranda’s home run was a good sight for an offense that has been slow lately.
Didn't take long to get this game back to all square pic.twitter.com/lLcurAth3g— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 22, 2022
Manuel Margot singled after the home run, and he scored on a Randy Arozarena double with one out in the inning, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead in the first, while Arozarena advanced to third on the play. With David Peralta at the plate, Berrios threw a wild pitch, allowing Randy to score and make it 3-1. The next two batters were set down, but the Rays were up early, negating the quick score from the Blue Jays.
Just for fun: let's call it a cycle watch for Randy after a RBI triple in the first pic.twitter.com/52o0BZP0CB— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 22, 2022
Ryan Yarbrough replaced opener JT Chargois, and he was welcomed with a home run by Teoscar Hernandez, bringing this game back within one for the Jays. Whit Merrifield homered, tying it 3-3. Yarbrough wouldn’t allow any more runs, but this game looked like it was headed for a ton of runs from both sides, with pitching not looking too hot early.
Ji-Man Choi drew a one-out walk, and moved up to third when Aranda hit a two-out single. Margot was up, and once again he singled, driving home Choi to give the Rays the lead again, 4-3. Wander Franco singled, bringing Aranda home, and Arozarena followed that up with yet another RBI single, making it 6-3 Rays. Arozarena stole third, but David Peralta flew out to end the inning.
Randy's triple is now a double officially so the cycle watch is off... for now pic.twitter.com/Dw46uZ4BcG— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 23, 2022
Yarbrough’s day was done after one inning of work, as he exited with an apparent injury. Garrett Cleavinger took over, and he struck out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless third inning. Former-Ray Trevor Richards took over for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the third, and he, too, struck out two hitters in a scoreless inning.
In the fourth, Cleavinger struck out two more Blue Jays, working a quick 1-2-3 inning. Taylor Walls and Jonathan Aranda both drew a walk to start the bottom of the fourth, and Wander Franco delivered, hitting a double and scoring both to make it 8-3, while ending Richards’ outing. Zach Pop was brought in, and he allowed an RBI single to Peralta to make it 9-3 Rays.
Shawn Armstrong relieved Cleavinger, who worked an excellent two innings, slowing down the Blue Jays offense and relieving an injury-shortened outing. Armstrong pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout in the mix. The Rays offense was quiet in the fifth, with a Choi single being the only thing on the board.
Lefty Brooks Raley entered in the sixth, allowing a leadoff walk but getting a double play and a groundout to pitch a clean inning. Randy Arozarena drew a two-out walk in the bottom-half of the inning, and he scored on a David Peralta double to make it 10-3 Rays.
Double digits as David drives in number 10 pic.twitter.com/dGk1dFeLxT— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 23, 2022
Colin Poche was brought in to work the seventh, and he was just as good as the pitchers before him, not allowing a hit and facing the minimum. The Rays offense was quiet in the bottom-half of the inning, with Taylor Walls drawing a two-out walk for the only action in the inning.
Miles Mastrobuoni was brought in to play first base in the top of the eighth, officially making his Major League debut. Dustin Knight entered to pitch, and he faced four Blue Jays, allowing only one hit. Randy hit his 39th double on the season in the bottom of the eighth, but that was the only hit for the Rays in the inning.
Knight stayed in to work the ninth, joining Cleavinger as the only Rays pitcher to work multiple innings tonight. Knight struck out Hernandez for the first out, but walked the next batter, Gabriel Moreno. Whit Merrifield hit a two-run home run following the Moreno walk, but Knight got the next two batters with a flyout and strikeout, securing the series-opening win.
The Rays made a lot of noise in the opening game against the AL Wild Card leaders, cutting the deficit down to one game. They’ll look to even it up tomorrow night with Jeffrey Springs on the mound. Toronto’s starting pitcher is to be determined, first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM inside of Tropicana Field.