Blue Jays bust out against Rays in lopsided win

Toronto ends skid vs. Tampa Bay pitching with 7-run first inning

September 5th, 2018

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were at risk of taking sole ownership of a dubious Major League record on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre, but a first-inning rally helped change all of that.

Toronto entered the series finale with five hits or fewer in each of its last seven games against Tampa Bay, which was tied for the longest such skid vs. one opponent. But a seven-run first inning was more than enough to end the streak and lift the Blue Jays to a 10-3 victory over the Rays.

The Blue Jays had runners on the corners when opened the scoring with an RBI single off Rays righty . and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with RBI singles of their own before delivered the big blow with a three-run homer to left.

After three more batters and a pitching change, snapped the streak with an RBI single, the Blue Jays' sixth hit of the inning. Smoak followed with a strikeout to end the inning.

"Great first inning by our guys, it allowed me to go out there and kind of pitch my game," said. "A lot of my career has been tight games, so for me to be able to go out there and get run support to kind of get locked in, I kind of felt that that was huge for me."

Toronto finished tied with the Washington Senators for the longest stretch of games vs. one opponent with five hits or fewer (seven games). The Orioles held the Senators to five hits or fewer in seven consecutive games from Sept. 11, 1968, to April 18, 1969.

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The seven-run first inning was the most runs the Blue Jays have scored in an inning since April 3, when they cashed in seven runs in the eighth inning against White Sox. It was also the most runs scored in the first inning of a game for the Blue Jays since May 31, 2014, against the Royals when Toronto scored seven to open the game.

The Blue Jays' bats went silent until the fifth inning, when led off with a homer to right field. It was the 24-year-old's fourth home run of the year, and he stretched his on-base streak to 14 games to start his Blue Jays career, the fifth longest in Blue Jays history.

Sanchez didn't need the help in his third start since returning from the disabled list. After Sanchez was unable to record five innings pitched in each of his last two starts, the 26-year-old right-hander allowed just three runs over six innings. He scattered six hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts, tying his season high.

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"Going into today, I just wanted to fill up the strike zone," Sanchez said. "I've been throwing way too many balls the last two starts coming off the DL, and our game plan going into today was to just fill up the strike zone."

Sanchez relied fairly evenly on all four of his pitches, throwing 57 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

The Blue Jays' bullpen closed out the final three innings without allowing a hit.

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-- the Blue Jays' No. 29 prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- hit a scorching RBI double on the first pitch he saw in the Majors in a sixth-inning pinch-hitting opportunity.

"It's nothing short of amazing to get your first career big league hit," Tellez said. "I'm still just in shock of what's going on."

The hit came just over two weeks after Tellez's mother, Lori, died of brain cancer at the age of 53. Tellez's father was unable to make the game due to a flight delay, so only his agent was there to see the hit in person.

"Just trying not to cry, pretty emotional moment for me," Tellez said. "It was just a real emotional moment for me. Kind of forgot how many outs there were."


The hit came off a fastball from Jake Faria that Tellez smacked to right-center field at 108.9 mph, according to Statcast™. He became the third player in team history with a pinch-hit extra-base hit in his first MLB plate appearance, joining Al Woods and John-Ford Griffin.

Blue Jays No. 21 prospect Jonathan Davis also made his MLB debut, but he went 0-3 with three strikeouts before being lifted for Tellez.


gave a taste of his own medicine with a leaping grab at the right-field wall to rob Kiermaier of extra bases in the third inning. Coming into Wednesday night, Grichuk led all Blue Jays outfielders with six Outs Above Average.


The Blue Jays will send Sam Gaviglio (3-7, 5.02 ERA) to the mound in the first of four games against the Indians at 7:07 p.m. ET on Thursday at Rogers Centre. Gaviglio has recorded at least six innings pitched just twice in his last 11 starts. He has a 5.98 ERA over that span. Cleveland counters with 23-year-old Shane Bieber (8-3, 4.66), who will make his first career start against the Blue Jays. Bieber allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in each of his last two starts.