TORONTO — Teoscar Hernandez and Santiago Espinal scored as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 in the opener of a five-game series at the Rogers Center Thursday night.
Yusei Kikuchi made his first good start in over a month and Adam Cimber earned the save as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
Toronto (43-33) moved up to second place with Boston in the American League East standings. Tampa Bay fell 2 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays and idle Red Sox, who hold the top two AL wildcard spots.
Isaac Paredes hit a solo shot for the Rays (40-35) who lost three in a row. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 9-5.
Kikuchi (3-4) allowed a deserved run, four hits and a walk. He had eight strikeouts in his first win since May 16.
Tampa Bay opener Matt Wisler played a goalless frame before handing the ball off to Ryan Yarbrough, freshly recalled from Triple-A Durham. Yarbrough gave Alejandro Kirk an infield single in the second round before Hernandez hit his eighth homer of the year.
Kikuchi didn’t allow a hit until Yandy Diaz stroked a two-out single in the third inning. He was stranded when Wander struck Franco.
Tampa Bay cut the lead in half in the fourth when Paredes rolled in a solo shot just inside left foul screen. It was his 11th home run of the season.
Kikuchi fanned Taylor Walls in the fifth inning for his 400th career strikeout. The left-hander gave up consecutive singles in the sixth, but third baseman Matt Chapman made two strong defensive plays to quell the threat.
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Chapman started a 5-3 double play and then hopped a grounder off Randy Arozarena before throwing a strong throw to first base for the third out.
In the seventh inning, reliever Trent Thornton dropped a single to Vidal Brujan, who finished second and finished third after rookie catcher Gabriel Moreno made a throwing error.
Chapman’s defense came in handy again as he chased a flyball from Francisco Mejia in Foul Territory to pull the team back.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. floated a single square to the right in the bottom half of the frame before Espinal hit his sixth homer of the year.
Yarbrough (0-4) allowed four earned runs, eight hits and a walk for 5 1/3 innings.
David Phelps pitched the eighth inning for Toronto and Cimber collected his fourth save. The announced attendance was 22,987 and the game lasted two hours and 55 minutes.
GIVE ME FIVE
This is the first time the Blue Jays have played a five-game series at the Rogers Centre.
It is the 12th time Toronto has played a streak of at least five games in franchise history, and it is the fourth such streak to be played at home (the others were at Exhibition Stadium in 1977, 1979 and 1980) .
An extra game has been added to this week’s series to accommodate a game originally scheduled for April 4th.
The Rays placed pitchers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson on the pre-game suspension list. Right-handers Javy Guerra and Phoenix Sanders have been added to the Triple-A Durham active squad.
Tampa Bay also put left-hander Jeffrey Springs on the family’s emergency medical list.
Right-handers will compete on Friday night. Jose Berrios (5-4, 5.86 earned running average) will start against Tampa Bay’s Corey Kluber (3-4, 3.45).
Neither team has confirmed starters for Saturday’s doubleheader or Sunday afternoon’s series finale.
Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan (8-3, 1.77) and Toronto’s Kevin Gausman (6-6, 2.93) are likely to serve Saturday, but it’s unclear if they would start in the afternoon or evening.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 30, 2022.
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© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/8960942/blue-jays-hit-two-homers-in-4-1-win-over-rays/ Blue Jays hit two homers in a 4-1 win over Rays