Advertisement
  1. Rays

Rays journal: Winning road trip ends with 10-3 clunker against Blue Jays

The Rays' Kevin Kiermaier drops to a knee and stares back at the mound after being brushed back by a fastball during the eighth inning against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. [FRED THORNHILL  |  The Canadian Press via Associated Press]
The Rays' Kevin Kiermaier drops to a knee and stares back at the mound after being brushed back by a fastball during the eighth inning against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. [FRED THORNHILL | The Canadian Press via Associated Press]
Published Sep. 6, 2018
Updated Sep. 6, 2018

TORONTO — CF Kevin Kiermaier hit two home runs. C Nick Ciuffo got his first big-league hit. RHP Jake Faria made a decent return to the majors.

And … And … And the Rays provided a stinky reminder that they are not going to win every game and that legitimately getting back in the race for the second AL wild card is going to be much harder done than said.

That was what was left in the wake of an ugly 10-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday as the Rays gave up seven runs in the first and never recovered.

Though they had won 13 of their previous 15 and still went a solid 5-3 on the trip to Atlanta, Cleveland and Toronto, the reality is the loss left them 75-64 and with Oakland's late win over  the Yankees,  eight back with 23 games left.

"It's not going to be easy,'' Kiermaier said. "We have to do a lot of things right and hope a couple other teams falter down the stretch. It's one of those things we know we're not going to win every game from here on out. It's just not how this game works.

"Tonight just wasn't our night.''

Certainly not for RHP Tyler Glasnow who put them in the huge hole, allowing seven runs in the first.

Kiermaier, who sat out Sunday with a sore back, has been swinging well, trying to put a good finish on a disappointing and injury-marred season. The homers were his fifth and sixth — and he just missed another as RF Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch at the wall — giving him a .367 average over his past 14 games.

"Probably the highlight of the night,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "KK, he's got the potential to get really hot. I'm not saying he's going to. But I think that's a huge step in the right direction, this series (6-for-10, four extra base hits) was.''

Ciuffo reached on an infield single. Faria worked three innings in his first action since Aug. 15.

Good Wood

RHP Hunter Wood was on the field congratulating teammates after Tuesday's 4-0 win when he looked up at the scoreboard and saw something he hadn't expected. At the discretion of the official scorer, Wood, who worked the second and third innings, was awarded the win, his first in the majors.

"I was just overcome with emotions,'' said Wood, a 29th-round pick in 2013. "That was really cool. To get a win in the major leagues is something special. A little old kid from Arkansas never thought he would get a win in the big leagues.''

Word eventually spread among family and friends, and Wood started receiving all kinds of congratulatory messages.

That his teammates didn't notice was okay, Wood said, because it spared him the customary beer shower, which apparently now includes a broader selection, as LHP Jalen Beeks' recent dousing included milk, orange juice, baby powder, shaving cream and more.

"They hit him with everything,'' said Wood, 25. "It was nasty. … I was thankful I escaped that.'' It wasn't clear if Wood — whose long hair could make the experience even messier — was in the clear, as several teammates said he was still due a "celebration.''

Wood was the 23rd Rays pitcher to get a W this season, most in the majors.

Pham out again

OF Tommy Pham was out of the lineup due to groin soreness that flared up and forced him out of Tuesday's game, though the Rays are expecting only a short absence since he was feeling better. "The hope is he gets (Wednesday) off, he gets an off-day (today) … and it kind of gets him feeling a little bit better,'' Cash said. "He could play. We want to be smart. He's missed enough time with some fluke injuries that weren't his fault.'' Since being acquired July 31 from St. Louis, Pham has been sidelined by a foot fracture, a dislocated finger and now the groin issue, playing in 17 of 32 games.

Not-so-minor matters

Rookie-level Princeton lost 2-1 to Elizabethton (Twins) and was swept in the Appalachian League final. Among the other Rays affiliates opening playoff series: Triple-A Durham lost 10-3 to Toledo (Tigers) in the opener of the best-of-five International League first round as RHP Ryan Weber gave up seven runs in three innings; short-season A Hudson Valley beat Auburn (Nationals) 11-5 in the opener of best-of-three NY-Penn League play; Double-A Montgomery lost 4-3 to Jackson (D'backs) in the opening game of best-of-five Southern League play.

Miscellany

• The Rays are 9-3 against the Jays, with seven more games remaining.

• Tuesday was the second time in franchise history the Rays used seven or more pitchers in a shutout (eight, Oct. 2, 2010, at Kansas City), the first time in the majors since the Blue Jays in June 2017, the first time allowing three or fewer hits since the Mets on October 2015.

• Rays 2011 first-round pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri said it was "bittersweet" to be dropped by the Rays after last season but a pleasant surprise to be claimed by Toronto and rewarding to be called up Saturday for his debut: "My career wasn't a waste, that's how I'm looking at it.''