The Blue Jays series against the Tampa Bay Rays was a fresh start for a Toronto team looking to get back on track after two losses to end their previous series. Toronto entered the four-game series with a 23-20 record, with three starting pitchers and a bullpen that changes daily.
Blue Jays Series: Game One, Extra Innings Needed
The Blue Jays Series seemed to be off to a great start in game one versus the Tampa Bay Rays at TD Bank Park. Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Anthony Kay got the ball as the starter in game one, Anthony and the Blue Jays got out to a 3-0 lead heading into the third inning against Tampa Bay, the Rays would respond with two runs in the top half of the inning which came from a Brandon Lowe two-run home run. Toronto added a run in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 4-2 ball game.
Kay would exit the ball game after four innings pitched, he had four strikeouts, allowed 2 earned runs, giving up one home run. Toronto and Tampa trade runs in the fifth inning making it a 5-3 Toronto lead heading to the sixth inning. Tamp Bay would even score in the sixth as they tacked on two runs. The score would remain that way until the ninth inning, and this game needed extra innings.
The Blue Jays with a chance after utilizing seven pitchers in this game against Tampa Bay, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Toronto relievers Jeremy Beasley gave up four runs in the 12th inning, unable to make a comeback was Toronto even though they scored two runs in the bottom of the 12th. The game would end with a final score of 9-7 in favor of the Tampa Bay Rays, this now pushing Toronto into a three-game losing streak.
The Blue Jays series against the Tampa Bay Rays continued on Saturday night as Toronto currently on a three-game losing streak hoped to turn things around versus the Rays. The Blue Jays had right-handed pitcher Robbie Ray on the mound for game two and he was dealing. Robbie Ray went seven innings allowing five hits, he gave up only one run which was a fifth-inning home run, Ray had seven strikeouts leaving the game with a 1-1 tie.
Toronto’s bullpen would take over and it was another collapse that would eventually cost the Blue Jays. The Tampa Bay Rays scored one run in the eighth inning and added another on the ninth inning to take a 3-1 lead and Toronto couldn’t mount a comeback. The Blue Jays drop their fourth straight game and now have a 23-21 record for the 2021 MLB Season.
The Blue Jays series against Tampa Bay has not gone how Toronto would have hoped, but they had an opportunity to get back in the series and the win column on Sunday in Dunedin, Florida. The Blue Jays had Ace Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound to start this game and looking to get a big win and force a chance to split the four-game series on Monday afternoon. Toronto fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but would recover and tie the game in the fourth inning, both teams traded runs in the fifth inning making it a 2-2 game after five innings of play.
Hyun-Jin Ryu would pitch six and two-third innings allowing eight hits, two earned runs, one home run while striking out seven Tampa Bay Rays hitters. Toronto would take the lead in the eighth inning after scoring two runs to make it 4-2, that’s when it all fell apart. The bullpen evidently could not find the strike zone in this game, they walked the bases loaded and then walked in the go-ahead run, Toronto relievers issued five straight walks and the Tampa Bay Rays scored four runs taking the lead and the victory, pushing the Blue Jays losing streak to five games and they now hold a 23-22 record heading into the series finale on Monday afternoon in Dunedin.
The Blue Jays series finale was a Monday afternoon tilt with the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto had Ross Stripling penciled in as the starter, however, that would change and Trent Thornton would be made the official starter for the series finale. The start was definitely not what the Blues Jays had planned as Trent Thornton would give up a grand slam in the first inning putting Toronto behind by a score of 5-0. Ross Stripling would enter the game in the second frame and Toronto would begin to claw back into the game after a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Solo home run, followed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. And Teoscar Hernandez going back to back with solo home runs, making it a 5-3 ball game.
Ross Stripling would pitch seven scoreless innings, racking up seven strikeouts, and allowed only two hits during his time on the mound. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continues his impressive display of skills at the plate as he hits his second home run of the ball game, this one a two-run bomb that would tie the game. Vladimir Guerrero Jr now has three multi home run games in 2021 and remains red-hot at the plate for Toronto. Toronto would bring in reliever Jordan Romano in the eighth inning to hopefully keep the Rays off the scoreboard and give Toronto a chance to take the lead.
Unfortunately, the bullpen gives up the go-ahead runs in the 10th inning as Anthony Castro gives up a double with the bases loaded and Toronto would trail 7-5 heading into the bottom half of the inning. Queue up reliable Marcus Semien, he hits his 12th home run of the season and it’s a two-run blast that ties the game up in the 10th inning. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays relievers can’t hold off the Rays as they explode in the 11th inning, Tampa Bay scores seven runs and Toronto drops their sixth straight game.
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