A trio of homeruns, including Wil Myers’ solo shot during his first game at Tropicana Field, lifted the Rays to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night, ending Toronto’s 11 game-winning streak.
Taking the mound for the Rays, Jeremy Hellickson had a strong start to his outing, striking out two of three batters faced in the first inning. After Hellickson walked Colby Rasmus in the second inning, he ended his streak of 26 consecutive innings without allowing a walk. Hellickson tied former Rays RHP James Shields’ record of 26 innings without walking a batter, which Shields accomplished in 2007.
The Rays terrorized Toronto’s starter, Esmil Rogers, in the second inning as they hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns. First, James Loney struck with a solo shot to right field. As Myers approached the plate for his first at bat at the Trop, he was greeted by a warm welcome from Rays fans. Shortly thereafter, he sent a homer flying to center field and received a curtain call. As if two homeruns weren’t enough, Sam Fuld added to the dramatics with a solo shot of his own to right field. Those three consecutive homeruns were the second time the feat has occurred in franchise history and the first time it has occurred at Tropicana Field.
Matt Joyce leadoff with a single in the third inning and later scored off of Luke Scott’s double. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Rogers walked both Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, but the Rays were unable to score any runs.
With reliever Alex Torres replacing Hellickson in the eighth inning, the Blue Jays were able to start some offensive action. After Torres gave up two singles and a walk, Emilio Bonifacio scored Toronto’s only run of the night.
Giving up only one hit in seven innings against the Blue Jays, Hellickson and the Rays stopped Toronto from winning their 12th straight game and setting a new franchise record. Hellickson wasn’t overpowering, striking out 4 and walking 4 as well, but he just forced weak contact time after time and prevented the Jays from doing anything against him.. Between Hellickson, Torres, and closer Fernando Rodney, the Rays pitching staff threw seven strikeouts and gave up four hits.
The Rays had seven hits and three walks off of Toronto’s Rogers, and the Blue Jays’ pitchers had only five strikeouts total. With a record of 40-37, the Rays are now in fourth place in the AL East standings. Don’t let that fool you, though, as they’re just 4.5 games back of the first place Red Sox and very much in the thick of the AL East race.