St. Petersburg, FL – Josh Lowe delivered a walkoff single to propel the Rays to a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Chris Devenski (5-4, 4.81 ERA) picks up his first win with the Rays as Tampa Bay improves to 95-61 and clinches home field in the Wild Card round if they are unable to catch the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Prior to the victory, the Rays had been just 6-52 when trailing after eight innings.
Jordan Romano (5-6, 2.68 ERA) takes the loss for Toronto who fall to 86-69. The Blue Jays entered the day as the second wild care a game ahead of the Houston Astros and 1.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners.
The Tampa Bay Rays held a 5-0 lead with two outs in the sixth inning only to see the Blue Jays score four times to trim the lead to 5-4. Toronto added a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a 6-5 lead. The Rays seemingly were heading for a disappointing loss but had the top of the order coming up in the ninth inning.
Yandy Diaz opened the inning with a double, his fourth hit of the day and fifth time on base. The four hits matched a career high. Raimel Tapia pinch ran for Diaz representing the tying run. Harold Ramirez followed with a single to right as Tapia advanced to third.
Curtis Mead delivered a RBI single scoring Tapia to tie the game at 6-6 and Harold Rarmirez moved to second base. Romano struck out Isaac Paredes and appeared to get Junior Caminero to ground into an inning ending double play. The Rays challenged the call at first and it was overturned. Harold Ramirez representing the winning run was at third base and Junior Caminero at first for Josh Lowe.
Lowe delivered the walkoff single on an opposite field single scoring Ramirez and the Rays completed their comeback to win 7-6 in what was an ugly afternoon of baseball. Josh Lowe finished the game 3-for-5 with 4 RBI and all four RBI came with 2-outs.
Zack Littell worked through a minor blister issue going 5.2-innings allowing two runs, none earned, on five hits while striking out six, walking one, and hitting two batters. He made 99 pitches with 67 for strikes including 19 of 27 first pitch strikes.
Yandy Diaz opened the game for the Rays hitting his 21st homer of the season. It was his 11th time to homer leading off a ballgame and fourth this season.
Harold Ramirez followed with a walk and after Curtis Mead flew out to left, Junior Caminero worked a full count and drew a walk to bring Josh Lowe to the plate. Lowe entered the game batting .345 (50-for-145) with two-outs and added to that by belting his 19th homer of the season giving Tampa Bay the 4-0 lead. It was just Lowe’s second career homer off a lefty.
Christian Bethancourt delivered his 11th homer of the season in the bottom of th fourth inning to extend the Rays lead to 5-0.
Toronto had ample opportunity to cut into the Rays lead against Rays starter Zack Littell. They had a runner on base in each of the first five frames. Littell walked the tightrope in the second inning allowing runners to get to second and third and loaded the bases in the third inning but were unable to deliver the clutch hit.
Toronto continued to pressure the Rays and finally got the clutch two-out hit in the sixth inning Kevin Kiermaier reached on a Curtis Mead error with two out and Tyler Heineman struck out only to reach on a wild pitch with Kiermer advancing to third after Yandy Diaz couldn’t handle the throw from Christian Bethancourt attempting to retire Heinaman.
Littell departed the game with runners on first and third and Tampa Bay holding a 5-0 lead with two out in the sixth inning. The lead would soon be cut to 5-4 after four straight two-out hits by the Blue Jays. George Springer greeted Shawn Armstrong with a 2-RBI double, Bo Bichette singled, Vladimir Guerro hit an RBI single, and Cavan Biggio followed with an RBI double.
With runners at 2nd and 3rd and the game suddenly a one-run game, Isaac Paredes made a diving stab of a Matt Chapman grounder to end the inning.
Colin Poche took over in the seventh inning. Whit Merrifield pinch hit for Daulton Varsho and reached on a Taylor Walls errant throw that allowed him to advance to second with nobody out. He moved to third on a flyout to center off the bat of Davis Schneider. Kevin Kiermaier sent a fly ball to left fielder Harold Ramirez who threw a strike to Christian Bethancourt to double up Merrifield attempting to score. It was Ramirez’s first outfield assist in his big league career. The double play ended the seventh and the Rays held the narrow 5-4 lead.
Kevin Cash went to closer Pete Faribanks to face Vladimir Guerrero with 2-out and the tying run at 3rd. Fairbanks uncorked a wild pitch to allow pinch runner Cam Eden to score the game tying run before walking Guerrero. it only got worse for Fairbanks who issued a walk to Cavan Biggio and then hit Matt Chapman on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Whit Merrifield walked on four pitches as Toronto took the 6-5 lead.
Chris Devenski, recalled to replace the injured Jason Adam, entered the game with the bases loaded and struck out Davis Schneider to end the ugly inning. Devenski stayed on and retired the Jays in the 9th in order. Remarkably, it was the Rays only clean inning of the game.
Asked why Robert Stephenson wasn’t utilized in the game, Manager Kevin Cash said that Stephenson is “a little banged up with a sore neck.” He expects Stephenson to be available on Sunday afternoon.
Toronto’s bullpen had kept the Rays bats quiet after Hyun Jin Ryu had allowed five earned runs in 4.1-innings. Trevor Richards worked 0.2-innings, Chad Green delivered 1.2-innings, and Genesis Cabrera retired the only batter he faced to end the seventh. Yimi Garcia took over in the eighth inning with the Blue Jays now leading 6-5 and retired the Rays in order.
Jordan Romano came in to work the ninth inning to protect the one-run lead but instead was tagged for the loss as the Rays rallied to defeat Toronto 7-6.
Junior Caminero made his big league debut drawing a walk in his first plate appearance and scored on Josh Lowe’s homer. He singled in the third inning for his first big league hit. His single registered an exit velocity of 112 miles per hour, the seventh hardest hit ball by a Rays player this season. He finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored .