Rays WC hopes grow after blanking Jays

Tampa Bay uses 7 pitchers to shut out Toronto; Choi has key pinch-hit

September 5th, 2018

TORONTO -- The Rays believe they still have a chance to reach the postseason.

On Tuesday night, they did nothing to hurt those chances, scoring three in the seventh to ice a 4-0 win over Toronto at Rogers Centre.

"We're getting outstanding pitching performances," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It seems like just about every night, we're in every ballgame because of our pitching and defense. And the offense has kind of started to click."

The Rays' fourth consecutive win clinched the series, giving the team a 4-1-1 mark in its last six road series after going 1-7-0 in its previous eight series.

After going 13-2 in their last 15 games, the Rays moved to 75-63 on the season, keeping their Wild Card hopes alive with 24 games remaining.

"Yeah, for sure [the Rays can reach the playoffs]," said , who scored the first run on 's RBI groundout. "I try and remind these guys after each win. ... I just want them to know that we're on our way, and all we can do is win every night and good things will happen.

"Just come to the field every day. Have the same mindset. Don't change anything, it doesn't matter who we're playing. Just come to the field. Know your role, do your job. And that's what we've been doing as of late."

Cash sent to the plate to pinch-hit for with one out in the seventh and the Rays leading, 1-0. Choi, who entered the game hitting .347 with four home runs and five RBIs in his previous 13 games, delivered with an RBI double off Jake Petricka. Tommy Pham added an RBI triple to left-center field, and then scored on a single to push the lead to 4-0.

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Hot pitching continued to drive the Rays. On Tuesday night, the team used seven pitchers to get the job done. , , , , , and held the Blue Jays scoreless on three hits. Wood got the win after pitching two scoreless innings; Romo picked up his 19th save of the season.

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That effort gave the Rays' pitching staff its 12th shutout of the year. Duffy added that having the pitching the Rays do "makes it easier" on the offense.

"You obviously want to get out to an early lead," Duffy said. "Once you do get out to that early lead, you really feel like you're in the driver's seat [based on the way the Rays are pitching]."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

After Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the first on a single and a pair of walks, struck out to keep the Rays from scoring.

doubled to lead off the Blue Jays' first, and he moved to third on a groundout. After got hit by a Stanek pitch, the Blue Jays had runners at the corners for . But Stanek struck out Grichuk swinging while Sucre threw a strike to second to nail Morales trying to steal, getting a much-needed strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play. The play ended the scoring threat and set the tone for the Rays' win.

"That was a huge play," Cash said. "[Sucre] can shut down a running game."

SOUND SMART

Stanek, who served as the Rays' "opener" Monday night, also served as the team's opener Tuesday night, the third time in club history that a pitcher has started consecutive games and the second time on consecutive days. Romo started on consecutive days, May 19-20, at Anaheim against the Angels. started consecutive games wrapped around the 2009 All-Star break.

PHAM TWEAKS HIS GROIN

After getting a single in the ninth, Pham got lifted for a pinch-runner. According to Cash, Pham has "a little bit of a groin issue."

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HE SAID IT

"Our pitching has been absolutely dominating." -- Kiermaier

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY

Tampa Bay challenged in the second inning when was called out on a sacrifice bunt. After a review of 50 seconds, the call was overturned, and Gomez was awarded a single, putting runners at first and second.

UP NEXT

will start Wednesday night when the Rays eye a sweep in their three-game series against the Blue Jays in a 7:07 p.m. ET contest at Rogers Centre. Glasnow is 0-2 with a 3.23 ERA in six starts since coming to the Rays in a trade with the Pirates. (3-5, 5.22) will take the mound for the Blue Jays.