After an uninspiring performance on Tuesday night, the Rays entered Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays with their backs against the wall. A loss would have slid them into fourth place for the first time since the first month of the season — a realistic scenario considering the Rays have been in a funk the last couple weeks.
But the threat of fourth place seemed enough to kick the Rays into high gear. They rolled through the the Jays last night, scoring eight runs by the third inning and cruising to a 9-1 win.
The way the Rays scored their nine runs was a bit out of the box. While Ben Zobrist, Casey Kotchman, and Robinson Chirinos all went deep off Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva, the Rays scored three runs off Villanueva through bunting. In the second inning, the Rays got runners on first and third with one out, and then proceeded to bunt three times in a row. Both Desmond Jennings and Robinson Chirinos bunted for base hits, driving in a run each, and Sean Rodriguez bunted and reached on a throwing error.
While Rays’ starter James Shields labored through the first few innings of the game, he settled down and ended up lasting 7.1 innings. Even though he didn’t have his best stuff and couldn’t fool the Blue Jays too often, Shields only allowed three hits, three walks, and one run (off a homerun). He struck out six batters.
- Robinson Chirinos’ homerun in the third inning was his first career major league homerun. Chirinos reached base everytime he came to the plate last night, going 2-2 with two walks and four RBIs.
- Matt Joyce had a rough day on Tuesday, but he bounced back last night and went 3-4 with a double.