ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Wander Franco drove in three runs and the Tampa Bay Rays outscored the Toronto Blue Jays 10-5 on Thursday night in Game 1 of a four-game series between the division rivals.
Jonathan Aranda homered and Randy Arozarena had three hits and two RBIs for the Rays, who are coming off a three-game series in which they were swept by the Houston Astros.
“Baseball is weird. I saw a result tonight that was a little different,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. The players did a good job of forgetting what happened, they were ready to come to work and improve and they found a way to win. »
The Rays (83-67) came within a game of the Blue Jays (84-66) and ranked first among teams drafted from the American. The Seattle Mariners (82-67) are third, four games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.
Whit Merrifield hit two long drives for the Torontonians as Teoscar Hernandez homered. José Berrios (11-6) allowed six runs and seven hits in two innings of work.
« It was a little weird getting ahead in the count but not putting the batters out, » Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said of Berrios, who threw 74 pitches.
A run single from Manuel Margot and productive hits from Franco and Arozarena gave the Rays a 6-3 lead in the second inning.
Franco added a two-run double on a fourth inning three-run for the Rays.
« I think we made the right adjustments tonight (Thursday), » Franco said. We played very well and we hope to continue with the same energy. »
Rays manager Kevin Cash decided to replace fly-half JT Chargois with Ryan Yarbrough to start the second inning.
Hernandez homered as the leadoff hitter, his seventh in 34 appearances against Yarbrough. One out later, Merrifield tied the game at 3-3 with a solo slap.
Merrifield also hit a two-run long ball in the ninth inning.
Yarbrough eventually left the game in the third inning due to discomfort in the right side of his body.
Garrett Cleavinger replaced Yarbrough and shut out the Blue Jays for two innings before Shawn Armstrong, Brooks Raley and Colin Poche gave nothing for three innings.
Aranda homered on Berrios’ second pitch on a three-run first inning. Arozarena hit a one-run double and after going to third base, he scored on a wild pitch.
Bo Bichette had a one-run double for the Blue Jays in the first inning. He’s now produced 24 points in 21 games in September.
Espinal on the sidelines
In other news, the Blue Jays placed infielder Santiago Spinal on the 10-day disabled list with an abdominal sprain on Thursday.
Montrealer Otto Lopez has been recalled and will be active for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Espinal left Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning after feeling unwell. The 27-year-old is batting .267 with seven home runs, 51 home runs and 51 runs scored this season.
Cavan Biggio, who replaced Espinal on Wednesday, started the game at second base and struck in ninth on Thursday.
Lopez, 23, has played 96 games at the AAA level with Buffalo this season. He averages .283/.365/.394, three homers, 36 RBI and 14 stolen bases.