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Tampa Bay Rays ride four homers to rout of Toronto Blue Jays

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Tampa Bay Rays ride four homers to rout of Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Drew Smyly called his outing a battle.

J.A. Happ said his was a nightmare.

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The matchup of left-handers turned out to be a dream for the Tampa Bay Rays hitters, who defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 13-2 Monday night.

"I was just having a hard time hitting my spots," said Smyly, who pitched five innings. "Our offense took so much pressure off me by putting so many runs on the board."

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Smyly (2-4) allowed four hits, four walks and one run while striking out six to earn his first win since April 24.

Curt Casali hit a three-run homer, Steve Pearce and Tim Beckham hit two-run shots, and Desmond Jennings hit a solo blast for the Rays.

Jennings, Casali and Pearce each had three RBIs, and Steven Souza Jr. had three hits and one RBI for the Rays, who handed the Blue Jays their third straight loss by taking the opener of a three-game series.

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"For me personally, it was a little ugly, a little sloppy," Smyly said. "I'll take five innings, one run. I was able to battle through and get through five. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to make it through five. It was a grind for me."

"Tough night," said Happ, who did not get an out in the third inning. "This is a game that will drive you crazy. In the past, it has. Tomorrow, I'm going to flush it, I'm going to get to work like always. I felt good. I'll feel good next time."

Happ (5-1) allowed seven hits (including two home runs), one walk and eight runs in two-plus innings to end a string of 14 2/3 scoreless innings. He had not allowed more than three earned runs in his previous 17 starts dating to Aug. 14.

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was his third ejection of the season and his second in two games.

"He's a human," Gibbons said of Happ. "He's been so good, he's been on a nice little run. What I saw, his two-seam fastball seemed to be cutting over the middle of the plate. He's been so good, move on."

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Happ said, "I was pulling my two-seam fastball. I wasn't hitting with my other pitches. It was cutting on me, and then I probably tried to feel for it a little bit. And that's always a mistake, not being aggressive with it.

"It happens from time to time. When it happens, I probably should use other pitches or the four-seamer, but (the two-seamer) been so good for me this year, I felt like I could make the adjustment. Some were good. It was just not coming out of the hand the right way, normally it has some sink or fade on it."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said, "Just a great offensive outpouring by everybody. The line was good, the result was good (for Smyly). It was a little difficult for him to get there. He battled through against a very potent offense, and there's something to be said for that."

Tampa Bay shortstop/outfielder Taylor Motter, making his major league debut, hit an infield single for his first career hit with one out in the first, and he scored on the sixth homer of the season by Pearce.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the first on three two-out walks, but Smyly struck out Troy Tulowitzki.

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Jennings led off the second inning with a single, took third on Casali's double and scored on Kevin Kiermaier's sacrifice fly to center. Beckham followed with a home run to center, his first of the season, and Tampa Bay led 5-0.

The Rays (17-19) scored four in the third. Evan Longoria singled and continued to second on an error by left fielder Michael Saunders. Pearce walked, and Souza chased Happ with an RBI single.

Right-hander Dustin Antolin, called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday, made his major league debut and gave up Casali's fifth homer of the season to increase the lead to 9-0.

Antolin walked Longoria with one out in the fourth and allowed a two-out single to Souza before Jennings hit a two-run double.

The Blue Jays (19-21) got on the board in the fifth. Darwin Barney singled and took third when Josh Donaldson ended a 0-for-17 slump with a double. Jose Bautista hit an RBI single.

After right-handers Joe Biagini and Drew Storen kept the Rays off the board for a combined three innings, left-hander Chad Girodo allowed an RBI single to Pearce in the eighth.

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Rays right-handers Steve Geltz and Ryan Webb each pitched a runless inning before left-hander Dana Eveland allowed an RBI single to Edwin Encarnacion in the eighth.

Right-hander Jesse Chavez gave up the second homer of the season by Jennings in the ninth inning.

NOTES: Toronto claimed INF Jimmy Paredes off waivers Monday from the Baltimore Orioles. The 27-year-old appeared in 104 games for the Orioles last season, batting .275 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. He was put on waivers at the end of a rehabilitation assignment after recovering from a sprained wrist. The switch hitter played in 18 minor league games on his rehab, collecting five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. ... Rays INF Taylor Motter, 26, who was called up from Triple-A Durham on Sunday, made his major league debut Monday, playing shortstop and batting second. ... Rays RHP Chris Archer (2-4, 4.57 ERA) will face Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.54 ERA) in the second game of the three-game series Tuesday.

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