Jays batter Rays’ pen to earn doubleheader split

by Gary Shelton on September 14, 2022

in general

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

As his bullpen teammates blow up around him, the Tampa Bay Rays can at least be thankful for Pete Fairbanks.

Fairbanks, at least, held on Tuesday afternoon, preserving a 4-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader that allowed the Rays to at least gain a split with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Fairbanks won an 11-pitch battle against the red-hot Bo Bichette, who represented the winning run, with two out in the ninth inning. The night before, a two-run homer by Bichette off of Jason Adam in the eighth inning had allowed the Jays to pull out a comeback victory.

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Alas, the second game of the day was another case of the Rays not being able to hold a narrow lead. Trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, the Blue Jays scored five times in their final two at bats.

The chief victim was reliever Colin Poche, who recorded just one out and gave up four earned runs. He walked two batters, threw two wild pitches and gave up a home run.

"His command was not there," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He couldn’t correct himself. There is no margin of error in a one-run game.

Granted, the Rays didn't do a lot of scoring in the three games, which meant there wasn't much margin for error by the relievers.

In the nightcap, the Rays scored only on home runs by Ji-Man Choi and Jonathan Aranda. The Rays had not hit a homer in six games coming in.

In the first game, the Rays scored on two ground outs, a sacrifice fly and a play in which Randy Arozarena scored froth first on Manual Margo’s single as he took advantage of a lax Blue Jays' defense.

"Sometimes, he's his own third base coach, his own manager and he's invisible," said Cash.

Cash, too, was impressed with Fairbanks.

"That was a pretty epic showdown you saw," Cash said. "Bichette is doing so well here as of late. Such a good hitter. Pete's had an incredible run. Probably didn’t want it to come down to that, but I’m glad we got the ground ball."

The Rays play the Blue Jays again tonight at 7:07 p.m. The Rays will start Drew Rasmussen against Ross Stripling.

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