Garcia and Meadows homer in Rays win over the Toronto Blue Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays just keep on winning, however, their sparse crowds must be a growing frustration. –

Austin Meadows homered for the third straight night as five Tampa Bay relievers combined to throw a six-hitter to beat their struggling AL East rivals the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Tuesday evening.

The second-place Rays have now extended their fine run of form to four straight wins. Furthermore, they improved to a season-best 14 games over .500 before an announced crowd of just 5,786. This crowd was their smallest ever at Tropicana Field.

“I noticed it during the anthem, and I was like: ‘Oh it’s still early, maybe people will still file in,”‘ opener Ryne Stanek said after Tampa Bay’s sixth win in the last seven games moved them to within one game of the division-leading New York Yankees.

“It’s tough, especially when we’re playing well and we’re playing a fun brand of baseball that’s fun to watch,” Stanek added. “We don’t play boring baseball. We don’t play sloppy.”

The Rays routinely rank at or near the bottom of the MLB in attendance. And they began the night averaging an AL-worst 14,578 spectators per game.

Meanwhile, there have only been two smaller crowds for big league games played in the domed stadium; both coming during their 2017 campaign when Hurricane Harvey forced the relocation of a Rangers-Astros series from Houston and attracted 3,485 throughout August.

However, the lack of crowd didn’t affect the Rays. Meadows hit his 12th homer of the season. He did this with a solo shot to right field off reliever Thomas Pannone during the seventh innings. Also, he homered on Sunday at Cleveland, as well as Monday during an 8-3 victory over Toronto and has nine hits and seven RBIs over the past three games.

Avisail Garcia had an inside-the-park homer off Clayton Richard during the third inning. And also scored on a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, the Rays bullpen began with opener Ryne Stanek. They limited the Blue Jays to four singles and a pair of doubles.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched 3 2/3 innings for the win. He worked out of a jam after Justin Smoak singled and Rowdy Tellez doubled to begin the Jays’ fourth. Chaz Roe, Diego Castillo and Emilio Pagan yielded two hits and Brandon Drury’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, finished the job.

The Blue Jays have now dropped six of their last seven and fell to 0-8-1 in their series against the Rays. This dating back to August 2017.

Garcia singled during the first innings and scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly. He circled the bases for the first inside-the-park homer of his career.

“He said that he got disorientated,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Grichuk. The Jays man had broke in on the ball before realizing it was going to land well behind him.

“He was looking up, looking up and then he was like, it was weird,” the manager added. “Because he felt bad about it, too. He apologised to the team.”

The series winds down on Wednesday evening.



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