The Tampa Bay Rays’ doubleheader sweep of the host Toronto Blue Jays Saturday stopped their four-game losing streak and set up a rubber match in the five-game series on Sunday.
The Rays’ hitters broke out of their drought in the doubleheader in the 6-2 and 11-5 victories.
In the first game, every Tampa Bay starter in the lineup had at least one hit, as the Rays finished with 13.
“It was encouraging,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The guys have been grinding through it.”
In the second game, seven of the nine starters combined for a total of 14 hits.
“You’re not going to have every guy hitting at one time,” Cash said after the first game. “But the way it’s been going, it’s refreshing that everybody got a hit, found a way to get on base. And we’d like to see it continue to carry over.”
Francisco Mejia had a solo homer and a two-run shot in the second game. Isaac Paredes had a solo homer in the first game and a three-run blast in the second. Paredes has 13 homers on the season and three in the series.
“It kind of all came together for us through the course of a long day,” Cash said. “It’s tough to win both games of a doubleheader, so really proud and impressed with the guys.”
While Shane McClanahan struck out 10 in seven innings in the first game, a pitching duel with Kevin Gausman was curtailed after two innings.
Gausman suffered a contusion of the right ankle when Wander Franco’s line drive hit him in a play that resulted in the final out of the second.
Casey Lawrence, who was pitching on three days’ rest after a start at Triple-A Buffalo, replaced him and allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
X-rays of Gausman’s ankle were negative, but it is unclear when he will make his next start.
“(Gausman) has got a contusion and we’ll go from there,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said between games. “I was hoping it wasn’t anything worse. He’s one of our best pitchers. I think he was wearing high top (shoes) and that helped a bit.”
Toronto called up right-hander Thomas Hatch from Buffalo to make his first major league start of the season in the second game on Saturday. He allowed 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Toronto will start right-hander Ross Stripling (4-2, 3.12 ERA) against Rays right-hander Shane Baz (0-1, 3.38) on Sunday.
Stripling is 0-2, 3.80 ERA in seven career appearances (two starts) against the Rays.
Baz is 1-0, 3.60 ERA in one career start against Toronto.
Tampa Bay leads the season series with Toronto 4-3.
Toronto acquired left-hander Anthony Banda from the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday for cash considerations. The Pirates had designated Banda for assignment.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Toronto moved right-hander Julian Merryweather (strained left abdomen) to the 60-day injured list.
Banda, 28, appeared in 23 games for the Pirates this season, with a 6.41 ERA. He had 22 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings this season.
In a six-year career, he is 7-5, 5.50 ERA.
Toronto optioned right-hander Max Castillo to Buffalo after Game 1 and promoted Hatch to start Game 2.
Tampa Bay optioned right-hander David McKay to Triple-A Durham, recalled right-hander Dusten Knight from the taxi squad, and added right-hander Cristofer Ogando to the taxi squad.
–Field Level Media