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Rays 8, Blue Jays 1: Leaving Toronto on a High Note

Tampa Bay Rays Dominate Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 Behind Alek Manoah’s Struggles and Shane McClanahan’s Dominance

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays are back to their winning ways after beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1.

After losing the series with back-to-back losses, the Rays were looking to end their losing streak before it could come close to the 13 straight wins they opened the season with.

Things got off to an awkward and late start as Alek Manoah was about four minutes late getting the first pitch thrown. When it was thrown, he hit Yandy Diaz with his first pitch, was seemed intentional at first, though, as the rest of the inning would show, Manoah’s command was certainly off today.

The Rays loaded the bases as Brandon Lowe walked, and Harold Ramirez followed with a single to right field. Wander Franco then walked as Manoah’s struggles continued, allowing Diaz to score, giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. For a moment, it looked like the Blue Jays might get out of the first inning, only allowing one run after Luke Raley and Taylor Walls struck out. Then Josh Lowe hit a two-out single to center field, scoring Lowe and Ramirez to extend the Rays' lead to 3-0. Things got exciting again as Lowe stole second base, but Vidal Brujan lined out to end the inning.

In this game, Shane McClanahan was not immune to the Aces being a little wild. George Springer walked in the bottom of the first, and Bo Bichette singled to right field, putting runners on first and second. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. then singled to right field, scoring Springer to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-1. Kyle Snyder made a mound visit after the run scored, and whatever he said worked immediately. McClanahan bounced back, and Matt Chapman flew out; Alejandro Kirk struck out, and the inning ended when Whit Merrifield grounded out.

In the top of the second, Christian Bethancourt struck out, but Diaz walked and advanced to second on a balk. Lowe grounded out, but Ramirez hit another single to first base, moving Diaz to third. The inning ended without any runs for the Rays as Franco flew out to end the inning.

Shane needed just 14 pitches to get through the bottom of the second. He got Santiago Espinal to ground out, Jordan Luplow to strike out, and Kevin Kiermaier called out on strikes.

The top of the third started fun as Luke Raley bunted for a single to start things off. The excitement quickly waned as Walls popped out and Lowe flew out. Brujan grounded out to end the inning.

Only eight pitches for Shane in the bottom of the third to get a Springer fly out, Bichette ground out, and Guerrero ground out to make it nine straight hitters retired since giving up the RBI single in the first.

Both teams hit a double in the fourth inning to avoid going down 1-2-3. For the Rays, Diaz’ double with one out put him on base for all his first three plate appearances. Two groundouts later and we were headed to the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Merrifield hit a double with two outs before an Espinal groundout took us to the fifth inning.

If the Rays lost their bats on this road trip, they found them in the fifth inning. After two strikeouts from Franco and Raley, the offense came alive. Thanks to a successful replay challenge, Walls walked and stole second base after being ruled out.

The inning continued as Josh Lowe hit a double to center field, scoring Walls to extend the Rays’ lead to 4-1. Brujan hit a single to third base, and Bethancourt hit a home run to center field, scoring Lowe and Brujan. Diaz hit a single after the home run ending Manoah's night with 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 5 K on 101 pitches. Zach Pop entered in relief and got off to a shaky start walking Brandon Lowe and Ramirez to load the bases before striking out Franco to end the inning.

Jordan Luplow struck out swinging for the first out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kiermaier hit a double on a sharp line drive to center fielder Josh Lowe. Springer popped out to second baseman Brandon Lowe for the second out. Bichette followed with a flyout to right to end the inning.

Shane McClanahan ended his night with 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, and 6 K on 98 pitches. After struggling with the initial batters, Shane locked in and looked like a dominant All-Star pitcher.

Colin Poche pitched a scoreless seventh inning and Garrett Cleavinger did the same in the eighth to maintain the Rays 7-1 lead headed into the ninth inning.

In the top of the ninth Taylor Walls hit a double and later scored on a Brujan single to extend the Rays lead to 8-1. Normally there isn’t much more to say in a game this lopsided but the game ended with an amazing play.

Jason Adam took the mound for the Rays in the ninth inning. He gave up a single to Merrifield and walked Luplow bringing fKiermaier to the plate with one out. KK hit a line drive right back to Adam that he just casually caught behind his back and then tossed over to second base for the game-ending double play. All that Kiermaier could say after being shocked in amazement was, “Wow. Wow.”

The Rays played a series that did not end in a sweep for the first time this season as they avoided dropping all three games to the Blue Jays. This team continues to dominate with pitching, defense, and an offense that leads the MLB in runs scored. It is still very early in the season, but this team has been a lot of fun and exciting to watch thus far.

The Rays finish their road trip with a trip to Cincinnati to face the Reds starting tomorrow night at 6:40pm ET.