Blue Jays fall to series-opening defeat to Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows both recorded two homers, and Willy Adames added the insurance with a two-run hit in the ninth inning, as the East-leading Tampa Bay Rays fought off a late Blue Jays come back to secure an 11-7 win on Friday.
Kevin Kiermaier, Tommy Pham and Mike Zunino also recorded runs as the Rays (11-3) extended their win streak to five games.
Trailing 8-0, Toronto (4-10) erupted with six runs at the end of the seventh to turn the rout into a tight game.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles. Meanwhile, Alen Hanson followed this up with an RBI single. However, Luke Maile ended the rally with a two-run homer to the joy of a sparse crowd of only 17,326. All the runs were charged to Yonny Chirinos, who was working his third inning of relief.
Justin Smoak had cut the margin to 8-7 in the eighth. When he scored on a fielding error. Before the Rays intentionally walked Hanson to bring in Maile with the bases loaded and two out. Deigo Castillo struck out the Jays catcher on a borderline 3-2 pitch to end the innings.
Zunino hit an RBI double in the ninth inning off Javy Guerra. Before Adames and a two-run shot followed this, it was his first homer of the season and put the Rays ahead 11-7.
Before he became the new manager of the Blue Jays this season, Charlie Montoyo laboured for 22-years in the Tampa Bay organization, the last four on the big-league staff of Rays’ manager Kevin Cash.
“I gave up three home runs tonight, and they were all on not well-located pitches,” Thornton said. “At the end of the day, I need to be better to compete and get a win out there.”
There’s absolutely no doubt the outing was one Thornton would love to have back. That’s fair to say about any start where you allow five earned runs and only last three innings.
“He wasn’t as aggressive today,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of his starter. “He was throwing his breaking pitches a lot, he wasn’t as aggressive with his fastball as he’s been in his last two starts.”
Luke Maile’s interpretation from behind the plate was slightly different.
“The offspeed stuff wasn’t as precise as it has been,” he said. “The fastball command was a little off. But he battled.”
Galvis was also upset. This was because of a constant conversation between umpire Quinn Wolcott and Mike Zunino throughout the first and fourth innings. He complained that he had never seen anything like it.
Speaking to Sportsnet and The Athletic, he said: “Everybody here is a professional player, and everyone has to be a pro. I feel like the umpire wasn’t a professional at that point. I sometimes know the umpire talks to the catcher between innings, something like that, but I feel like in my first at-bat he was talking for my whole at-bat with the catcher. In my second at-bat, he was doing the same thing. He didn’t stop. He kept talking and talking and talking.
“…You’re hitting, and you hear those guys talking and talking and talking, I feel like you have to have some respect for the game. Everybody’s trying to focus, we’re in front of a lot of people, and this is pro baseball. I went back to the video room to look at the pitches, and they were balls, I wasn’t mad because they were balls, I know as a human being, sometimes you’re going to make mistakes, that’s not my problem. My problem is if you don’t act professionally.”
The Blue Jays continue the series against the Rays on Saturday.