Rays Start Series In Toronto With Big Night

posted by Steve Carney - 

Hit 'em with it, Ji.

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The Rays got seven innings from Yonny Chirinos, while Joey Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier had three hits apiece as Tampa Bay won their third straight game with a 7-1 decision over the Toronto Blue Jays Monday at Rogers Centre.

Tampa Bay jumped on Marcus Stroman right off the bat.  Matt Duffy singled with one out in the top of the first, taking second on a Ji-Man Choi groundout and scoring on Tommy Pham's RBI single.

After Ryne Stanek worked a perfect bottom of the first, the Rays went right back to work, as led off the inning with a triple.  Jake Bauers struck out, but Nick Ciuffo reached on a fielder's choice with Kiermaier getting back to third base safely to put runners at the corners.  An infield single by Mallex Smith plated Kiermaier for a 2-0 lead and Duffy followed with a double to left that brought in both runners and doubled the advantage.

Manager Kevin Cash made the decision after the long top of the second to go to Chirinos, and the right-hander struggled to start, walking Aledmys Diaz and Russel Martin with one out.  Teoscar Hernandez then singled in Diaz to cut the lead back to 4-1 before Chirinos would get out of the inning.

Tampa Bay got the run right back in the third on an RBI single by Kiermaier, scoring Wendle.

The Rays made it 6-1 in the fifth when Pham scored on a Tim Mayza wild pitch, and set the score in the seventh when Choi unloaded on former Rays farmhand Taylor Guerrieri, taking a pitch and depositing it in the second deck in right-center for his fourth home run as a member of the Rays and sixth of the season overall.

After throwing 25 pitches to get through the second inning, Chirinos (3-5) needed just 47 pitches to get through the eighth inning Monday.  He was aided by getting a 6-4-3 double play in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.  He is the third Rays pitcher this season to throw seven innings of relief in a game, following Ryan Yarbrough (5/25 vs Baltimore) and Austin Pruitt (6/7 vs Seattle), but the first to do it on the road and the first to get a win.

Jaime Schultz allowed a two-out walk to Kevin Pillar in the ninth, but got Diaz to ground out to end the game, and get Tampa Bay to 11 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season.

Tuesday's Matchup

Tampa Bay Rays (74-63) at Toronto Blue Jays (62-75), 7:07 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.

Rays starter - RHP Ryne Stanek (2-3, 2.72 ERA)

Blue Jays starter - TBD

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