Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays clinch rare series win over Rays at Trop

ST. PETERSBURG — The last time the Blue Jays won a series at Tropicana Field, Dioner Navarro was in his first season as the Devil Rays' starting catcher.

But Navarro, now Toronto's No. 1 catcher, helped snap that seven-year streak Wednesday night, setting the tone with a two-run homer in Tampa Bay's 7-4 loss.

"We got the monkey off our back," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

The Blue Jays clinched their first series win at the Trop since April 2007, spanning 21 series. In two games, Toronto has outscored the Rays 15-6.

"They played better than we did the last two games, and deserved to beat us; it's that simple," manager Joe Maddon said. "They outplayed us."

It also further dimmed any lingering playoff hopes for the Rays (67-73), who are 9½ games out of the second AL wild-card spot with 22 to go.

Navarro, a Ray from 2006-10, including an All-Star appearance in 2008, continued to torment his former team in front of an announced crowd of 10,264. Of his 12 homers this season, four have come against Tampa Bay, as well as 12 of his 61 RBIs. Maddon intentionally walked Navarro to load the bases in the seventh. Said Maddon: "He's hot."

"When I help my teams, that's what matters," Navarro said. "It can be against the Rays, it could be against Houston."

It was another rough night for Rays starter Chris Archer, who allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings. In his past two outings, Archer is 0-2 with a 11.70 ERA after going 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his previous four. Eleven of the 20 hits he's surrendered the past two games have come with two strikes. Seven came Wednesday, including the two-run homers by Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion.

"People are going to get hits with two strikes, but it's personally unacceptable how many they've gotten with two strikes the past two games," Archer said. "Just didn't execute, period. My job is to get people out and I didn't do a good job of that tonight."

Navarro, who hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer Tuesday night, opened the scoring Wednesday with one out in the second inning. Encarnacion's two-run blast in the fifth stood after a 3 minute, 21 second replay review.

The game was delayed 30 minutes in the fourth inning after some stadium lights went out due to a lightning strike at the 16th Street substation. "Begin to wonder, when you get the lights go out, this place is haunted," Gibbons said.

But it was the Rays offense that lacked a spark, with just three hits in the first five innings against right-hander Marcus Stroman.

"We came out flat," Maddon said. "Then rebounded, but it was too big of a deficit to overcome."

The Rays racked up four hits in the sixth, with Evan Longoria and James Loney hitting RBI singles. Longoria hit a towering two-run homer, his 18th of the season, in the eighth inning to cut the Jays' lead to 7-4.

"Got him back to classic Longo," Maddon said. "He's really playing at the top of his game."

But the Rays aren't, having lost 12 of 18 since returning to .500 (61-61) Aug. 15.

"It's tough," Archer said. "It (stinks)."

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Published: 01/20/18
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18