April 15, 2023

Tampa Bay Rays’ historic start finally ends in loss to Toronto

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TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Rays lost their first game following a record-tying 13-0 start as Colin Poche forced in two runs with bases-loaded walks and second baseman Brandon Lowe made a key error in a four-run fifth inning that lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-3 win on Friday night.

George Springer hit a leadoff home run and Bo Bichette had five hits and an RBI as the Blue Jays denied Tampa Bay’s bid to establish Major League Baseball’s post-1900 record for consecutive wins at a season’s start.

Toronto’s 13-0 record matched the 1982 Atlanta Braves and 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, trailing only the 20-0 start by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association.

Tampa Bay trailed at the end of an inning just six times entering Friday. Against the Blue Jays they trailed after all nine.

Springer homered on the night’s second pitch from Drew Rasmussen (2-1), who pitched 13 innings in his first two starts. Springer’s 53rd leadoff homer tied Craig Biggio for third, behind Rickey Henderson’s 81 and Alfonso Soriano hit 54.

Bichette had an RBI double in the second for a 2-0 lead and his 500th hit. He reached the mark in his 407th game, faster than the previous Blue Jays mark shared by Vernon Wells and Shannon Stewart.

Luke Raley cut the lead in half with an RBI single in the fourth, but Poche relieved with the bases loaded in the fifth and walked pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk on four pitches and Santiago Espinal on five. Danny Jansen hit grounded to Wander Franco for a potential inning-ending double play, but Lowe allowed the ball to bounce off his glove and into the outfield as two runs scored.

Rasmussen allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Jose Berríos (1-2) gave up one run and four hits in five innings, leaving because of a bruised left knee that got struck twice in his final inning. Manuel Margot’s leadoff liner caromed off Berríos’ left foot and into foul territory. Three batters later, a Yandy Díaz comebacker struck Berríos’ knee.

Trevor Richards got two outs in the sixth and Zach Pop came on to strike out Isaac Paredes, stranding runners at first and second.

After Yimi García gave up back-to-back homers to Josh Lowe and Christian Bethancourt in the seventh, Erik Swanson worked a scoreless eighth and Jordan Romano finished for his fifth save in six chances.

Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier faced his former team for the first time and went 2 for 4. The three-time Gold Glove award winner spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Rays.

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