Rays Stumble, Drop Opener To Jays

 

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays couldn't hold on to a 3-0, 4-1 or a 5-4 lead, as Randal Grichuk's pinch-hit bases-clearing triple proved to be the difference as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Rays 7-6 Friday at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay jumped on Blue Jays starter Thomas Pannone in the bottom of the first inning, as Mallex Smith started the inning with a triple and after Tommy Pham drew a walk, Joey Wendle made it 1-0 with an RBI double.  C.J. Cron brought in Pham with a sacrifice fly, and two batters later, Willy Adames turned around a two-strike pitch for a base hit that plated Wendle.

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow could not get the shutdown inning in the second, as Teoscar Hernandez hit his 21st home run of the year to get Toronto back to down 3-1.

Pham helped get the Rays back to a three-run lead int he fourth, with his sacrifice fly bringing in Smith, who had reached on an infield single, stole second and took third on a poor rundown throw.

Rowdy Tellez made it 4-2 with another solo homer off Glasnow in the sixth, and Adam Kolarek would end up giving up the lead later int he inning with a two-run double by Jon Berti.

Catcher Adam Moore broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth, executing the safety squeeze bunt play, but Kolarek and Jose Alvarado would load the bases in the top of the seventh before Grichuk tripled into the right field corner, clearing the bases and giving Toronto the lead for good.

Moore cut the deficit back to 7-6 in the eighth with a solo home run, his first since September of 2012, off Jose Fernandez, and Smith followed with a double, but Tampa Bay could not get the game tied.

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