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'Pen can't hold lead; Rays need 2 wins for 90

Reliable Alvarado takes loss after allowing go-ahead 3-run triple in 7th
September 28, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ninety wins is still possible for the 2018 Rays, but ...Ninety wins is "not as good as 91," said Rays manager Kevin Cash after the Rays took a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday night at Tropicana Field. "We want to win out. There's no

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ninety wins is still possible for the 2018 Rays, but ...
Ninety wins is "not as good as 91," said Rays manager Kevin Cash after the Rays took a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday night at Tropicana Field. "We want to win out. There's no doubt."
Toronto scored three in the sixth and three in the seventh en route to the win.

Tampa Bay is 3-6 in its last nine games on the heels of a five-game winning streak and a 23-5 stretch from Aug. 19-Sept. 19. The Rays are now 88-72 on the season, meaning they will need to win Saturday and Sunday if they want to reach 90 wins.
The Blue Jays trailed 5-4 when they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk came through with a triple off Jose Alvarado, giving Toronto a 7-5 lead.

Alvarado had been dependable throughout the 2018 season and could be the closer in 2019. Friday night Alvarado was clearly out of sorts as he blew his fourth save of the season and took his sixth loss.
"I think it was all command [issues]," Cash said. "Velo looked normal. He just couldn't find that strike zone. Couldn't find that consistency. Looked like he was up with fastballs, down with fastballs, the breaking balls weren't landing in the zone. The Blue Jays did a good job of not doing him any favors. Seemed like there were a lot of 2-0, 3-1 counts in there."

Added Alvarado: "Today I didn't feel good. I don't know what happened in the game. I threw my pitches, like my sinker, it didn't come out right today."
Tampa Bay scored three in the first on Joey Wendle's RBI double, C.J. Cron's sacrifice fly and Willy Adames' RBI single. Teoscar Hernandez homered off Tyler Glasnow to start the second, cutting the Rays' lead to 3-1.

Tommy Pham's sacrifice fly in the fifth pushed the Rays' lead to 4-1, but the Blue Jays answered with three in the sixth to tie the game at 4.
Adam Moore's RBI bunt single in the sixth put the Rays back on top, 5-4. Moore later added his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the eighth that cut the Blue Jays' lead to 7-6.

PHAM AT 30
When Pham drew a walk in the first inning, he extended his on-base streak to 30 games. The on-base streak is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and the longest streak by a Ray since Evan Longoria (34) from Sept. 19, 2012, to April 23, 2013.

HE SAID IT
"[Moore] got beat up tonight. And it didn't faze him whatsoever. He was just blocking, the athleticism, the anticipation was pretty impressive to watch. That was probably the brightest spot of the night." -- Cash, on Moore's performance behind the plate
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Tampa Bay challenged in the fifth when John Smith was called safe on a pickoff attempt at first base. After a review of one minute and 59 seconds, the call was overturned.

UP NEXT
Blake Snell goes for his 22nd win of the season Saturday night when the Rays host the Blue Jays in a 6:10 ET contest at Tropicana Field. Snell faced the Blue Jays on Sunday and did not allow a run in 6 2/3 innings, his second consecutive scoreless start and ninth scoreless start of the season. Left-hander Ryan Borucki will start for the Blue Jays.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.