The Tampa Bay Rays used a pair of groundouts to break a 1-1 fourth inning tie, and then used a five-run eighth inning to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-4 Sunday at Rogers Centre.
Toronto jumped out to an early 1-0 against Rays starter Charlie Morton, as Billy McKinney led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on a base hit by Freddy Galvis. However, Morton limited the damage to just the single run but getting Randal Grichuk to ground into a double play and striking out Rowdy Tellez.
Tampa Bay evened the game in the third by taking advantage of a Blue Jays error in the field, as Ji-Man Choi appeared to have grounded out for the final out of the inning, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr. threw wildly to first, allowing Choi to reach and Michael Perez, who had singled to start the inning to get into scoring position. Avisail Garcia then worked a walk in a ten-pitch at bat to load the bases, and Brandon Lowe singled in Perez to tie the game.
The Rays again loaded the bases in the fourth against Stroman on a throwing error by the Jays pitcher on a bunt by Kevin Kiermaier, a single by Willy Adames and a walk to Perez. Austin Meadows grounded out to break the tie as Kiermaier scored to make it 2-1, and Yandy Diaz followed with a groundout of his own to give Tampa Bay an insurance run.
Galvis cut the lead back to a single run with a solo homer off Ryne Stanek with one out in the seventh, but Diego Casillo got out of the inning with no more damage by getting Randal Grichuk to ground into a double play.
After getting shut down by Thomas Pannone for three innings, Tampa Bay finally got to open their lead back up in the top of the eighth. Kiermaier's RBI double off Javy Guerra scored Garcia, who had doubled and took third on a fly out by Lowe. Pinch-hitter Mike Zunino's two-run single then made it 6-2, and Guillermo Heredia hit a two-run pinch-hit homer, his first as a member of the Rays, to make it a six-run game.
Wilmer Font allowed a two-run homer to McKinney in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead back to 8-4, but struck out two of the next three hitters to finish the game and give Tampa Bay their fifth straight series victory and a 7-2 record on their nine-game three-city road trip that spanned the continent.
The Rays have Monday off before starting their next homestand Tuesday.
Tampa Bay Rays (12-4) vs. Baltimore Orioles (6-10), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage beginning on WDAE at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter: RHP Tyler Glasnow (3-0, 0.53 ERA)
Orioles starter: TBA
Wednesday: Rays vs Baltimore Orioles, 7:10 pm first pitch
Thursday: Rays vs Baltimore Orioles, 7:10 pm first pitch
Friday: Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, 7:10 pm first pitch
Saturday: Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, 6:10 pm first pitch
Sunday: Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, 2:10 pm first pitch