Series Summary – Tampa Bay at Toronto, July 17-19, 2015
Blue Jays 6, Rays 2
A five-run outburst featuring home runs by Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak propelled the Blue Jays to a 6-2 win in the series opener against the Rays on Friday.
With the game tied 1-1 and one out in the bottom of the 5th, Donaldson slugged his 22nd home run, scoring Devon Travis, who had singled to lead off the inning. Jose Bautista followed with a walk before Edwin Encarnacion doubled to center field. Justin Smoak played all three with a blast to right center, his 9th, that chased starter Jake Odorizzi. Smoak also doubled in the 4th but was stranded at second.
Graphic via thestar
Toronto starter Drew Hutchison picked up the win, pitching six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out three. Relievers Bo Schultz and Roberto Osuna held the Rays hitless over the last three innings.
Odorizzi (5-6) had a tough outing, giving up all six runs in 4⅓ innings. The lone Tampa Bay bright spot on offense was Grady Sizemore’s second homer of the season.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 2
On Saturday in Toronto, the Rays used solo home runs from Brandon Guyer and Curt Casali in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 3-2 win in the second game of the series. Four Tampa Bay relievers held the Jays to two hits over the final 4⅓ innings to secure the victory.
Graphic via zimbio
The scoring began in the 3rd when Tampa Bay’s John Jaso hit a ground-rule double to right, scoring Tim Beckham. Toronto countered with a run in the 5th on a Devon Travis double that plated Kevin Pillar. An inning later, Jose Bautista put the Jays up with a solo home run, his 18th.
Both starting pitchers put in solid outings though neither got a decision. Tampa Bay Erasmo Ramirez went 4⅔ innings, giving up four hits and a run while striking out four. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tossed six innings for the Jays, also allowing a run on four hits and whiffing four.
With Toronto reliever Aaron Loup pitching in the 7th, Guyer drove a 1-2 pitch into left field to tie the game. An inning later, the Rays’ Curt Casali greeted rookie Ryan Tepera with a shot to left to give Tampa Bay the lead for good.
Kevin Jepsen (2-5) earned the win in relief with a save to Jake McGee, his fourth. Tepera (0-1) was tagged with the loss.
Behind eight shutout innings from righthander Marco Estrada, the Toronto Blue Jays won the rubber game, 4-0, against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays took two of three games against their AL East rivals.
Estrada (7-5) scattered just three hits and was bolstered by a two-run home run by Chris Colabello. Estrada dominated the Rays for the second time this season. In his last start against Tampa Bay on June 24, he carried a perfect game into the 8th inning before settling for a no-decision in a 1-0 extra-inning win for the Jays.
On Sunday, Estrada outdueled Rays starter Chris Archer, who had beaten the Jays three times this season. The game was a pitching duel: in the first four innings, Archer allowed only an infield hit while Estrada yielded two hits. In the bottom of the 5th, the Jays struck first when Colabello followed a Justin Smoak single with a line-drive homer, his 9th, to left field.
That was all the support Estrada would need, striking out five and walking none. Jose Bautista added a two-run shot in the 8th and Roberto Osuna pitched the 9th to seal the win.
Graphic via chron
Tampa Bay Notables: The Rays only scored five runs in the series … John Jaso, the leadoff-hitting DH, continues to hit since returning from the disabled list in early July. His 3-for-12 line for the series dropped his season average to .353. … Second baseman John Forsythe has a solid series, going 4-for-9 with an RBI.
Toronto Notables: Chris Colabello continues to put together a great season. The platooning leftfielder is now hitting .324 in 58 games … The beleaguered bullpen was effective in the series, despite Saturday’s loss, yielding just four hits and a run in seven innings against the Rays. … Josh Donaldson is now 3rd in the AL in hits (105) and runs (67), 4th in RBIs (62), 5th in homers (22), and in the top 10 in doubles (22) and slugging percentage (.530).
Graphic via wtop