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Tampa Bay Rays Game 17: James Loney Leads Way in Rout

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The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 12-3 on Friday night in the first contest of the three-game set between the two teams. The Rays offense finally came alive in a very balanced effort and roughed up Blue Jays’ starter R.A. Dickey. James Loney had a two-hit night on his return to the lineup after a stint on the disabled list while Drew Smyly also made his return from the DL and pitched well.

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After Smyly retired the first 10 batters he faced, Devon Travis lifted a 3-1 pitch over the foul pole to give the Jays the early lead. Danny Valencia singled in another run to put the Jays up 2-0, but that lead didn’t last long. Loney tied the game up in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer to right, which was also his first hit of the season. Rene Rivera hit a deep home run to dead center with Logan Forsythe on base to put the Rays up 4-2. Then the Rays busted out in the fifth inning.

Asdrubal Cabrera tripled to center to score a run before Evan Longoria and Forsythe contributed a sac fly and an RBI fielder’s choice respectively. Kevin Kiermaier followed by hitting a deep fly ball to left-center on which Dalton Pompey and Steve Tolleson collided. Kiermaier and Forsythe ended up rounding the bases to put the Rays up 9-2. Kiermaier singled in another run in the bottom of the seventh and Tim Beckham followed up with a two-run homer to put the lead at 12-2.

Drew Smyly looked sharp in his return from the DL, going 4.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 5 without walking a hitter. He was quite efficient, generating lots of awkward swings as his fastball, curveball, and cutter all looked excellent. Jose Dominguez got his first major league win by pitching 1.1 shutout innings striking out 2 and walking 1. He was optioned back to Durham after the game. Matt Andriese picked up his first big league save by throwing the last 3 innings allowing just 1 run.

Offensively, every Tampa Bay Rays hitter in the starting lineup got a hit on the night and three hitters delivered multi-hit performances. James Loney had a nice return to the lineup, going 2 for 5 with a home run and a double and a pair of RBIs, while Tim Beckham went 2 for 2 with a home run coming off the bench. Desmond Jennings went 2 for 4 with a double on the night and made a couple of rangy catches in center. Brandon Guyer also made a nice diving grab in left field to take a hit away.

The Rays take on the Jays in Game 2 of the three-game set tomorrow at 6:10 PM EST. Erasmo Ramirez will get the start and be opposed by Daniel Norris.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Could Drew Smyly Be Another Ace?

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