Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays rout Blue Jays behind Drew Smyly

TORONTO — Drew Smyly had just dominated the potent Blue Jays lineup by twirling a two-hit shutout that was the first complete game of his professional career. But even after the 8-0 win, his Friday night wasn't yet done.

Smyly was sharing congratulations with catcher Curt Casali when three of the Rays' other pitchers — Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb — circled around him at the side of the mound, ready to indoctrinate him into one of their customs; where the starting pitchers stage a group jump to celebrate a complete game.

"He looked like he didn't want to do it," Cobb said. "But we surrounded him, so he had no choice."

Smyly claimed he was willing, if not necessarily excited, having seen clips of past jumps and been briefed, but he just wasn't sure of the protocol.

"I was waiting on them. I didn't know where they wanted to do it," Smyly said. "That was the worst part of the night being in the middle of that jump."

He was joking, but he wasn't kidding. Smyly, the lefty acquired from the Tigers in the trade that sent the lefty, David Price, to Detroit, was masterful as he rolled through a predominantly right-handed, power-hitting Toronto lineup.

Smyly allowed only two singles, by leadoff man Jose Reyes in the first and No. 9 hitter Steve Tolleson in the third, struck out four with no walks and retired the final 19 batters.

"He had everything going on," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Truly a really artistic performance."

Smyly had help, of course, with some strong defense behind him and an unusually explosive offense as the Rays improved to 63-65 and remained no more than seven games back in the race for the second American League wild card.

A day after winning — over Price and the Tigers — with one hit, the Rays logged 14. Evan Longoria provided some muscle with a homer and a two-run double in a three-hit night, and Kevin Kiermaier added plenty of hustle, busting out of the box to turn two singles into a pair of doubles that Maddon called "two of the shortest doubles you've ever seen in your life."

Wil Myers added a homer with his first hit since coming back from the disabled list.

But Smyly was the story as much for throwing his first complete game since his junior year at Arkansas as how he did it, keeping the Jays off-balance and coercing them into bad swings with an assortment of pitches that included his best-ever changeup.

Maddon, who called it the best game a Rays pitcher had thrown in Toronto (which includes Price's 14-strikeout performance Aug. 28, 2011), said he could tell early Smyly was on, and Smyly agreed.

"Pretty much the whole game I felt like I was in charge," he said.

Smyly hadn't completed eight innings in any of his previous 39 big-league starts but was in position thanks to a low pitch count to finish the complete game with 105.

"I'd been waiting for this game. I didn't know if I ever was going to be able to get it because usually I have high pitch counts," Smyly said. "It's a good mark to reach. It's a big accomplishment for me."

As was getting through his first starters jump afterward.

"Now he knows how it goes," Archer said.

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

Comments
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

The reality of Friday's surprising trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span to Seattle is, of course, between the extremes.One side is screaming this is the latest proof the Rays are driven more to pocket money than winning games (and, for the loudest, o...
Updated: 7 hours ago

For starters: Rays vs. Orioles; Ryne Stanek makes first start, Carlos Gomez returns

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' bullpenning experiment continues, with right-hander Ryne Stanek to open this afternoon's game against the Orioles at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.It is the first career start for Stanek, who has ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Published: 05/25/18
Updated: 05/26/18
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Published: 05/25/18
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Published: 05/25/18
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Published: 05/25/18