St. Petersburg, FL – Vladimir Guerrero homered twice and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-5.
Taj Bradley (5-8, 5.52 ERA) takes the loss for the Rays who fall to 95-62. Bradley worked seven innings allowing six earned runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking two.
Trevor Richards (2-1, 4.57 ERA) earned the win for Toronto who remain the second wild card in the American League. Richards took over for starter Yusei Kukichi who worked the first four innings allowing three earned runs. Richards worked two scoreless innings holding the Rays to just one hit striking out two and walking one.
The Rays had an early 2-0 lead but the Blue Jays scored five times with 2-out in the top of the second to gain the lead and never relinquished it.
Manager Kevin Cash appreciated the effort given by the rookie Bradley. “I was really encouraged by the way Taj hung in there and kept us in the ballgame.” He said. “For a young pitcher that’s pretty impressive to have that type of inning and be able to get through seven. We had our opportunities, another outing encouraged by him.”
The Rays were plagued by a trio of baserunning errors. Curtis Mead ran into an out at 2nd, Oseivis Basabe was nabbed when Alejandro Kirk threw behind him. Harold Ramirez failed to tag up on a fly ball to right fielder George Springer. Yesterday the defense was suspect, today the baserunning.
The big blow was a 3-run inside the park homer from George Springer. Vladimir Guerrero homered off Bradley in the sixth and was part of back-to-back homers in the ninth off Erasmo Ramirez. “The ball kind of ricochet into no man’s land.” Cash said. “That corner out there, it’s going to ricochet and you’re not expecting the right fielder to be there.”
For Tampa Bay, Isaac Paredes hit his 30th homer of the season in the bottom of the seventh to draw the Rays within 6-5.
Yandy Diaz departed after his second plate appearance. He displayed discomfort on his infield single leading off the bottom of the first. He still seemed bothered in his plate in his plate appearance in the second. He was removed from the game for precautionary reasons with what is deemed right hamstring tightness.
“I think he’s fine, going to be fine. Sore after the infield base hit to start.” Cash said. “More precautionary getting him out of the game then needing to come out.” Cash added that there will be no hurry to get him back into the lineup on Tuesday if there is any discomfort.
The Rays will head to Boston on Tuesday for a two game series, they are off on Thursday, and head to Toronto to finish the final three games of the season against the Blue Jays.
The Rays loss combined with Baltimore’s 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Guardians puts the Rays 2.5 games behind the Orioles in the AL East. Baltimore also holds the tiebreaker against the Rays. Odds are the next games the Rays play at Tropicana Field will October 3 through 5th against the second Wild Card. Currently, Toronto holds that position and are trying to stave off the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, or the Texas Rangers (currently lead AL West).