|George Springer hit a pair of HR and drove in 3 runs in a 7-1 win over the Rays =|
After a win on the back of a three run shot by Whit Merrifield 3-run HR and arguably the best pitching performance of Alek Manoah's career, the Blue Jays were looking to make it two straight wins over the Rays and escape Tropicana with a split. Ross Stripling got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after DH'ing yesterday. Alejandro Kirk served as DH today. Could the Blue Jays end the road trip with a 2-game streak and build a commanding 2 game lead over the Rays for home field advantage in the WC series, which is the likely matchup at this point? Here is today's game recap.
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Alejandro Kirk hammered a solo bomb to left-center
- The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 3rd as George Springer smashed a 2-run blast to the opposite field in right; also scoring Raimel Tapia
- The Rays got one back in the bottom half of the inning on a sac fly by Randy Arozarena that scored Taylor Walls
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 5th as Springer belted a solo bomb to dead center
- Shane McClanahan pitching line: 5IP 6H 4R (all earned) 2BB 2K 76 pitches (46 for strikes)
- Ross Stripling pitching line: 5IP 6H 1R (earned) 0BB 3K 76 pitches (52 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 8th as Teoscar Hernandez smacked a 2-run blast to left-center; also scoring Matt Chapman
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 9th as Vladimir Guerrero Jr, singled scoring Tapia
- Final score: Blue Jays 7 Rays 1
- Both Ross Stripling and Shane McClanahan pitched 5 innings, threw 76 pitches (Stripling threw a few more strikes) and gave up 6 hits. The difference was Stripling kept the ball in the ball park and thus gave up a few less runs. Stripling should start the 2nd game of a WC series as he's been a bit more consistent than Gausman. Alek Manoah will almost certainly start a game 163 in the event of a tie or the 1st WC game. He's been the Blue Jays best pitcher by far.
- The bullpen held the Rays to a hit and a walk while striking out 7 over the final four innings. Interesting move using Kikuchi in a reasonably tight ball game. The Blue Jays did added a 7th run in the 9th to give him a 6-run cushion and to be fair every major league pitcher should be able to hold that lead. It had been a while since Kikuchi had pitched and Schneider needs to see if he can be reasonably trusted to pitch in the WC series as a second lefty out of the bullpen. Nice to see Trevor Richards have a clean inning - he had been struggling in recent appearances.
- Offensively, the big bats were sizzling today. George Springer hit a pair of HR and 3 RBI, Teo hit a 2-run shot, Alejandro Kirk opened the scoring with a solo bomb and Vlad was clutch in the 9th with an RBI single to give Yusei Kikuchi a 6-run cushion to work with
- In terms of the WC race, the Mariners and Orioles both lost meaning the Blue Jays remain in the top WC spot 2 games up on the Rays and 2.5 games up on the Mariners. The Orioles remain 4 games back of the Mariners for the final WC spot
- Up next, The Blue Jays open the final homestand of the regular season, starting with a three-game set against the Yankees, who have won 9 of the 16 meetings in the season series thus far, and have outscored the Blue Jays 68-55. History could be made as Aaron Judge attempts to set the single season Yankees record for HR. He had a chance to do so tonight in Boston. Neither team has set their rotation for the series.