DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Austin Meadows, Manuel Margot and Mike Brosseau drew consecutive bases-loaded walks with two outs in the ninth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied for their 10th straight win, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Sunday.
The comeback win lifted Tampa Bay into a first-place tie with Boston in the AL East.
The Rays trailed 4-2 going into the ninth, but took advantage of five walks by relievers Tyler Chatwood (0-1) and Travis Bergen to send Toronto to its fifth straight loss.
After a leadoff walk and a single, Brett Phillips hit an RBI single with one out that made it 4-3. Chatwood retired Randy Arozarena on a flyball before walking Yandy Díaz to load the bases.
“That was a fun one,” Phillips said.
Bergen entered and Meadows worked for a nine-pitch walk after fouling off three 3-2 pitches, tying the score. Margot walked on five pitches to put Tampa Bay ahead and Brosseau walked on four pitches.
“Our guys did a tremendous job of not helping him out,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Austin Meadows’ at-bat was just remarkable.”
With the Blue Jays playing a shift against the left-handed hitting Meadows, the runner at third, rookie Taylor Walls, broke toward the plate several times prompting Bergen to step off the pitching runner repeatedly.
“It could create a little havoc, for sure,” Cash said.
Josh Fleming (4-3) allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings out of the bullpen. Recently acquired J.P. Feyereisen worked the ninth to get his first save.
Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning off Fleming that gave Toronto a 4-2 lead.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo talked with his team after the game.
“Keep playing,” Montoyo said. “They’re frustrated, of course. Tough losses. It’s like four tough losses in a row.”
Francisco Mejía homered for the Rays.
Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead on Mejía’s fifth-inning solo homer.
Teoscar Hernández hit a fourth-inning solo homer and then tied it at 2 with an RBI single in the fifth. In 22 games since returning from the COVID-related injury list, he has five homers and 22 RBIs.
Margot put the Rays up 1-0 on a first-inning RBI single.
Michael Wacha gave up one hit over two scoreless innings as the Rays opener. It was his first appearance since May 2 after being sidelined by a right hamstring strain.
A PAIR OF FIRST HIT BASEBALLS
Walls doubled twice Saturday night to become only the third switch-hitter since 1900 to have an extra-base hit from each side of the plate in his major league debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Also accomplishing the feat were Minnesota’s Rich Becker (Sept. 10, 1993) and George Wright of Texas (April 10, 1982). Walls’ wife, daughter, parents were among 30 friends and relatives in attendance. He was given both balls as souvenirs.
Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi doubled in three at-bats against Ryu in their first big league matchup. Choi struck out with two on and two outs in the sixth. The pair, separated by four years, went to the same high school in South Korea.
DOWN AND OUT
Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fell down in the batter’s box in the eighth on his grounder to third.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (left eye irritation) didn’t start but entered in the ninth as defensive replacement.
Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (left forearm flexor strain) is nearing the start of a throwing program.
Toronto RHP Ross Stripling (0-3) will start the Blue Jays’ final game at TD Ballpark on Monday. Toronto, 10-10 at its spring training complex, will relocate to its Triple-A facility in Buffalo, New York next month. The Blue Jays are not allowed to play in Toronto due to COVID-19 restrictions in Canada. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (2-3) gets the start for the Rays.
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