Despite control problems, Jays edge Rays

by Gary Shelton on September 22, 2021

in general

Lowe had two hits for Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

This close to the finish line, and they are stumbling. But one thing seems certain after their latest defeat.

If the Rays are going to reach the playoffs, they aren't going to walk there.

The Toronto Blue Jays tried their best to self-immolate in Tuesday night's 4-2 victory over the Rays. Tampa Bay walked 11 times, and had one batter hit by a pitch. Despite that, Tampa Bay could score only twice against the Jays and, with series remaining against Houston and New York, find themselves somewhat vulnerable.

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The Rays now lead Boston by six games, the Blue Jays by 7 1/2 and the Yankees by eight games in the AL East.

"I felt that early, we had (Alek) Monoah on the ropes," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "Other  than Brandon’s hit to drive one in, we couldn’t get anything going. Credit their pitcher for staying at it. He didn’t look like the same guy we saw in the last two. After that, he was able to locate his fastball and kept us quiet."

Still, 11 walks? Ah, but the Rays left 12 men on base, and they were only two-of-10 with runners in scoring position.

"It felt like we had opportunities," Cash said. "We weren't able to get that big hit or multiple hits. If we’re geting those guys on  base, I’ll bet over time our offense will find ways to get them in."

Perhaps. But not Tuesday night.

The Rays loaded the bases in the ninth (on three walks), and Joey Wendle's shot down the right field line was just foul. But again, no runs.

Drew Rasmussen pitched the first five innings and allowed just two earned runs, but he left feeling empty.

"It wasn’t good enough unfortunately," Rasmussen said. "I think the offense has a little  less stress if they don’t have to do so many things, if I make one more good pitch in the fifth in the (Lourdes) Guriel at bat.

"I didn’t feel like I was overly sharp tonight. I made a mistake. We were trying to throw a fastball away to Guriel.  I  missed over the inner half of the plate. He’s a good hitter and he did his job. They got the job done tonight and I didn’t."

The Rays' Austin Meadows was thrown out at second (caught stealing) and at third (trying to take an extra base).

Nick Anderson, injured most of the season, took the loss.

“We’re seeing Nick a little inconsistent from outing to outing," Cash said. "It  looks like one outing he has his command, the tick and the velo, where he wants it. Today, his velo was a tick down and the four-pitch walk ,,, he just doesn’t walk guys."

The Rays and Blue Jays play again today at 3:10 p.m. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher.

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