ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Tampa Bay broke an eighth-inning tie when Toronto third baseman Cavan Biggio let a grounder go between his legs, and the Rays went on to beat the Blue Jays 5-3 on Saturday night.
Jordan Romano (1-1), reinstated from the 10-day injured list before the game, walked Brandon Lowe and Mike Brosseau to start the eighth. Manuel Margot hit a grounder that got past Biggio for an error, allowing Lowe to put the Rays ahead 4-3.
Margot said the bunt sign was on for the first pitch but then was taken off.
”After that, my mentality changed and I just wanted to make hard contact,” Margot said through a translator.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said he was ”glad we didn’t” bunt.
”They had the infield kind of pinched in maybe to try and cover for the bunt,” Cash said. ”Manny smoked it. I don’t know if he was all the way back he makes that play.”
Brosseau was thrown out at the plate on shortstop Bo Bichette’s relay from left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Margot advanced to third on the play and later scored on Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder against Ryan Borucki.
”A close game, you come in and you walk a couple guys, you’re looking for trouble,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. ”But you’ve got to give him credit, he got the ground ball to get a double play and we couldn’t make the play.”
Brosseau and Mike Zunino homered for the Rays, who stopped a four-game losing streak.
Toronto got a three-run homer from Randal Grichuk.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but failed to score when Ryan Thompson (1-1) struck out Alejandro Kirk.
Andrew Kittredge worked the ninth for his first save.
Zunino had a solo drive during the second and Brosseau tied it at 3 on a two-run homer off Robbie Ray in the sixth.
Ray allowed three runs and six hits over six innings. The lefty had nine strikeouts.
Grichuk put the Blue Jays ahead 3-0 on his first-inning shot with two outs off opener Brent Honeywell Jr. It came one pitch after first baseman Yandy Diaz couldn’t make the play on Grichuk’s foul ball near the netted wall down the first-base line.
Ryan Yarbrough replaced Honeywell in the second. He limited the Blue Jays to three hits and struck out six in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Honeywall was optioned to the Rays’ alternate camp after the game.
The game was delayed in the second inning when Biggio reached first base on a popup that struck a cable between overhanging catwalks and was dropped by Yarbrough near the mound. After several discussions between the umpires and managers, it was determined the ball hit the cable in foul territory and was a dead ball.
”Maybe I’ll have someone come out and hit me popups as high into the dome as possible tomorrow,” Yarbrough said. ”One of those weird plays.”
Biggio, who entered hitless in 14 at-bats, completed the at-bat with his second single of the game.
Blue Jays: OF George Springer (right quadriceps strain) played in his second game at the alternate site Saturday night and could make his season debut Tuesday. ”He looked good,” Montoyo said. ”He’s happy with his at-bats, how he ran.”… OF Teoscar Hernandez (COVID-19) continues hitting at the alternate site. … Romano had been out with an elbow injury.
Rays: Closer Diego Castillo returned from the COVID-19 IL after missing one game due to side effects of his second vaccination shot. He had a fever, fatigue and body soreness. … RHP Chris Mazza (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 10-day IL.
Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (1-2) will start Sunday’s series finale. Tampa Bay has not announced its starter.
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