Randal Grichuk’s three-run homer in the seventh inning helped the Blue Jays defeat the Rays, 6-4, on Monday afternoon in St. Petersburg. Toronto split the four-game series and improved its record to 14-13.
There is still a good chance that the Blue Jays will play in the postseason, but don't expect manager Charlie Montoyo to look far ahead and talk about playing baseball when the leaves turn brown.
“I’m a 'one day at a time' type of guy, so as I see it, we [had won] six in a row and went 2-2 against one of the best teams in baseball,” he said. “I’m really happy with the way we played in [St. Petersburg]. Now we are ready for Boston tomorrow. One game at a time.”
Cavan Biggio likes what he is seeing from his teammates as he looks ahead to a potential playoff push.
“We obviously have playoff-caliber players on our team … and we are slowly putting it together from the beginning of the season,” Biggio said. “Our bullpen is as good as it can be all year long. We started a little bit slow with the bats. Now we are able to put some consistent at-bats together and put some runs on the board. With that being said, I believe we have a really good chance of making the playoffs.”
The Blue Jays were able to put runs on the board in the late innings on Monday. Toronto was down, 3-2, going into the seventh inning, but it was able to get to two Rays relievers. With two outs and Edgar García on the mound, Santiago Espinal drew a walk. In came left-hander Aaron Loup to face Biggio, who reached base on catcher’s interference by Mike Zunino. Grichuk followed, swung at a 1-1 pitch and hit the ball over the left-field wall to give the Blue Jays a two-run lead.
Grichuk ended up leaving the game after the top of the eighth with lower back tightness. He is listed as day to day, but he is expected to play on Tuesday against the Red Sox in Buffalo. Grichuk was hurting starting in the first inning, but the injury grew worse as the game went on.
“His home run was huge,” Montoyo said. “At this time, no one is going to play at 100 percent. To his credit, he said he wanted to play. It’s a big game. He ended up with the big home run. We are hoping he is OK for tomorrow.”
Biggio thought Rays manager Kevin Cash was going to have Grichuk face a right-handed pitcher.
“I told him before the at-bat, I said, ‘This is your guy right here,’" Biggio said. "I did what I could to get on base.”
Rays left-hander Anthony Banda was on the mound when the Blue Jays added an insurance run in the ninth inning. Espinal came home on a double by Biggio.
It was up to Toronto's bullpen to shut it down. Thomas Hatch, Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano held Tampa Bay to one unearned run in four innings, with Romano picking up his second save of the season.
Right-hander Chase Anderson will make his fourth start of the season and face the Red Sox for the third time in his career. He has allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings against Boston. The Blue Jays need Anderson to go deep in the game, as their bullpen has been spent the past couple of games. Catch the action at 6:37 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV.