Rays rip quartet of homers in rout of Blue Jays

May 17th, 2016

TORONTO -- Tampa Bay used the long ball and a solid pitching performance by Drew Smyly to put away Toronto 13-2 Monday night in the opening game of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.

Tampa Bay used two-run homers by Steve Pearce and Tim Beckham and a three-run homer by Curt Casali to fuel an 11-0 lead through four innings. Desmond Jennings added his second home run of the season in the ninth to give the Rays four homers for the game.

"Awesome win," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, referencing the previous day's gut-wrenching loss to Oakland. "It's been a long 24 hours, get out there, get on the board early. Pearcy with the big home run. Then we come back and get even more the next inning … against a guy who has thrown the ball pretty well this year. It was great to see. Just a great offensive outpour by everybody."

Smyly successfully navigated a bases-loaded first-inning jam en route to pitch five innings, allowing one run to earn his second win of the season. Meanwhile, Toronto starter J.A. Happ surrendered eight earned runs in two innings -- moving his ERA from 2.05 to 3.40, to take his first loss of the season.

"I was pulling my two-seam fastball," Happ said. "I pulled two kind of middle-in for the two home runs, and I wasn't hitting on my other pitches tonight. I felt good in the bullpen, nothing was different. I just didn't execute, and it got away from me quick."


Homers continue:
The Rays hit three more home runs Monday night, moving the team to 54 on the season, the most they have ever had after 36 games. The Rays have now hit 24 home runs in their last 11 games and 36 in their last 19. Of the 141 runs they have scored this season, 81 have come via home runs, which translates to 57 percent of their runs.

Goodbye Gibby: With the Blue Jays down 11-0 in the bottom of the fourth, tempers flared when Tulowitzki was caught looking on full-count fastball at the bottom of the zone. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons appeared to have some choice words for home-plate umpire Mike Winters, and he was tossed for the second consecutive game after leaving Sunday's contest for arguing balls and strikes. It was Gibbons' third ejection of the season and his 35th as Blue Jays manager.

"Balls and strikes, that's all [we talked about]," Gibbons said about his ejection.

Motter's first at-bat: A day after getting recalled from Triple-A Durham, Taylor Motter made his first Major League start, batting second and playing shortstop for the Rays. In his first Major League at-bat, he managed to put the ball into play on the right side of the infield before winning a footrace to record an infield single. The Rays received an instant dividend on the next pitch when Pearce hit his sixth home run of the season to put the Rays up 2-0. More >

Missed opportunity: Despite the lopsided final score, the Blue Jays had a chance to strike early after the Rays put up a pair runs in the top of the first. Picking up the first two outs with ease, Smyly walked three straight Blue Jays batters and loaded up the bases for Tulowtizki in the bottom half of the inning. Toronto's starting shortstop struck out on six pitches, and Smyly left the inning unscathed despite throwing 32 pitches.


"I mean today, I just went in the box -- I don't want it to sound crazy, but just didn't try as hard. I just went up relaxed. Tried to see the ball and hit it." -- Jennings, who ended an 0-for-9 streak by going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double


Rays:Chris Archer (2-4, 4.57) hopes to get back in the groove Tuesday night when he takes the mound at 7:07 p.m. ET. Archer had posted three-consecutive quality starts before struggling against the Mariners Wednesday -- an outing that featured a 33-pitch first inning, en route to a no-decision.

Blue Jays: After attending his graduation ceremony at Duke University on Sunday, Marcus Stroman will take his talents back to the mound on Tuesday as the Blue Jays continue their three-game set against the Rays. Stroman pitched six innings and gave up two runs in his last outing, a no-decision against the Giants.

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