TORONTO (AP)Shane Baz pitched six innings for his first win of the season, Harold Ramirez and Randy Arozarena hit two-run home runs and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Sunday.
Ji-Man Choi had a solo home run for the Rays in the six-run, seven-hit fifth inning – their biggest inning of the season. All of the damage came against Blue Jays right-handers Ross Stripling (4-3) and Trent Thornton.
Tampa Bay lost the first two games of this five-game series, matching a season-worst four-game losing streak, then won the final three convincingly.
”Everyone knew it was kind of a matter of time, but it’s definitely good to see those guys dominating,” Baz said of Tampa Bay’s offense.
Baz (1-1) allowed one run and seven hits to win for the first time in his five big-league starts in 2022. He walked two and matched a season-best by striking out seven.
”It seemed to me like he had a knack for dialing into the strike zone and his stuff as guys got on base,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays’ Cristofer Ogando made his major-league debut, allowing a sacrifice fly over two innings of relief. Shawn Armstrong got one out in the ninth but gave up an RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and left with the bases loaded. Jason Adam got the final two outs for his third save in three chances.
Ramirez scored the opening run in the first on a throwing error by Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman, but Toronto answered in the third on an RBI single from Guerrero, whose hit had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph.
The Rays then broke it open in the fifth, when seven of the first eight batters got a hit. Taylor Walls doubled, Rene Pinto grounded out, Yandy Diaz singled home a run but was thrown out trying to advance, Wander Franco singled, and Ramirez chased Stripling with a homer to left, his fourth of the season.
Choi greeted Thornton with a blast to right for his seventh of the season, Isaac Paredes singled and Arozarena capped the outburst with his eighth home run.
”Anytime we can get crooked numbers like that, we’re going to take it,” Cash said. ”They’ve kind of been few and far between here as of late so it’s nice to see that between yesterday and today, we’re doing that.”
Stripling allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
”Those are frustrating, those ones stick with you,” Stripling said of his inability to close out the game-changing fifth.
The Blue Jays played with heavy hearts after learning of the death of Julia Budzinski, 17, the eldest daughter of first base coach Mark Budzinksi.
”As a husband and a father myself, my heart breaks for Bud and his family,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.
The Blue Jays and Rays lined up along the foul lines before first pitch for a moment of silence. Blue Jays bullpen catcher Luis Hurtado coached first base.
Toronto was the opponent the last time Tampa Bay had a six-run inning on Sept. 22, 2021. Stripling was also the losing pitcher that day, as the Rays used a six-run third to win 7-1 at home.
Blue Jays: RH Trevor Richards (strained neck) was activated off the 15-day injured list and RH Thomas Hatch was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Rays: Optioned RH Dusten Knight and RH Ralph Garza Jr. to Triple-A Durham and added Ogando from the taxi squad. RH Drew Rasumussen, who was the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader, remained on the active roster.
Rays: Tampa Bay has not named a starter for Monday’s game at Boston, the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. RH Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.69 ERA) goes for the Red Sox.
Blue Jays: RH (9-2, 2,09) starts Monday as Toronto begins a three-game series at Oakland. The Athletics have not named a starter.
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