Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Blue Jays club Rays, close in on wild-card slot

Field Level Media
30 Sep 2023, 12:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)

Alejandro Kirk had a home run and three RBIs, Bo Bichette was 4-for-5 with three runs and one RBI, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 11-4 Friday night.

Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman added solo home runs for the Blue Jays (89-71), who moved closer to clinching an American League wild card spot.

Yandy Diaz hit a two-run homer for the Rays (97-63), who have clinched the first AL wild-card berth.

The opener of the three-game series that ends the regular season could be a preview of a first-round playoff series next week.

Toronto left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (11-6) allowed three runs, five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in five-plus innings.

Right-hander Aaron Civale (7-5) opened for the Rays and allowed one run, two hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

Kirk sliced a drive down the right field line with one out in the second for his eighth homer of the season.

Toronto added three runs in the third against Zack Littell. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bichette singled and Cavan Biggio walked to load the bases. Kirk grounded a two-run single to center, and Kevin Kiermaier followed with a sacrifice fly.

Belt led off the bottom of the fourth with his 18th homer of the season, a drive to center against Erasmo Ramirez. Bo Bichette singled and Biggio's single to center got past Manuel Margot, who was charged with his second error in as many innings and both runners scored.

Chapman led off the bottom of the fifth with his 17th homer of the season, a drive to center against Ramirez.

Rene Pinto led off the Rays' sixth inning with a double, and Diaz followed with his 22nd homer of the season, a blast to left. Harold Ramirez doubled, and Chad Green replaced Kikuchi. Green allowed Curtis Mead's single and walked Randy Arozarena to load the bases, and Junior Caminero stroked a two-run single.

Toronto answered with two runs in the home sixth on Guerrero's double, Bichette's single, an error and Biggio's two-run single.

Toronto added a run in the seventh when Guerrero and Bichette doubled in succession with two out against Taj Bradley.

--Field Level Media

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