Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Blue Jays explode, beat Royals to get within 2-1 in ALCS

TORONTO — Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and the slugging Blue Jays were eager to return to their homer dome after dropping the first two games of the AL Championship Series in Kansas City.

They showed everyone why.

The Blue Jays came out swinging and their rowdy fans were singing from the start, with Tulowitzki and Donaldson connecting in a six-run third inning as Toronto roughed up Johnny Cueto and the Royals for an 11-8 victory that cut Kansas City's series lead to 2-1.

"That's really what we're all about," manager John Gibbons said. "We desperately needed that breakout."

Ryan Goins also homered and had a two-run single a game after his misplayed pop fly set off Kansas City's winning rally Sunday.

The Royals tried to come back this time, too, scoring four in the ninth before Roberto Osuna closed it out.

Despite being outhit 15-11, the Blue Jays pounced on Kansas City's pitching in the first ALCS game in Toronto since 1993 for their most runs at home in the postseason — after scoring three in two games in Kansas City.

Kansas City scored four off starter Marcus Stroman then added four in the ninth, capped by Kendrys Morales' two-run homer off Osuna.

The 49,751 fans serenaded Cueto with a sing-song "Cueto-Cueto!" chant from the first pitch and never quieted down.

The Royals took a quick lead when Alcides Escobar led off the game with a sinking liner that went under rightfielder Jose Bautista's glove for a triple off Stroman. Former Ray Ben Zobrist drove in Escobar with a grounder, but that was the only advantage Kanas City would hold in having its nine-game ALCS winning streak snapped.

Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar quashed the rally with an over-the-shoulder catch that sent him crashing into the wall.

After an easy first, Cueto appeared flustered by the crowd. Eleven of his remaining 13 batters reached, and at one point in the third inning he threw his hands up in frustration after gesturing for a new cycle of signs from catcher Salvador Perez.

Goins singled in two runs in the second after Tulowitzki singled with one out and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch that knocked off his left elbow guard. Goins pulled into second on the throw home and shouted and pumped his arms.

When Goins scored on Donaldson's hit, he was greeted first by the enthusiastic Stroman.

"He's been carrying that load around a little bit," Gibbons said of Goins' Game 2 mistake. "But he stepped up, really got us on the board with that great at-bat, picking up those two runs, base hit to left and then, of course, the home run."

Nursing a sore shoulder, Tulowitzki entered in a 4-for-29 postseason slump. But he connected for the Blue Jays' first ALCS homer after Edwin Encarnacion singled and Chris Colabello walked to start the third.

Comments
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17