Who’s in first? Blue Jays clobber Rays

by Gary Shelton on September 14, 2021

in general

Meadows hit his 25th homer and 99th RBI./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Could someone remind me, just one more time, which of the teams is on top of the American League East?

Is it the Tampa Bay Rays, who have lost three of four games and given up eight runs or more in each of the defeats? The Rays, whose bullpen suddenly looks haggard?

Or is it the Toronto Blue Jays, who won their 15th game out of their last 17 Monday night, hammering the Rays 8-1. Is it the Jays, who outhit the Rays 17-2?

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You wouldn't have known it for the night -- or for the last few days, to be honest -- but the Rays still have an eight-game lead on the Toronto Blue Jays. But the Jays are making some noise as a team no one wants to play in the American League playoffs this season.

It was complete domination Monday night. Pitcher Alek Manoah threw eight innings of one-hit shutout baseball against Tampa Bay.

“He’s a talented pitcher," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We’ve faced him three times, and this was his best. He had a really good breaking ball. His stuff is lively through the zone. He pitched really well."

The Rays' only run came in the ninth inning on Austin Meadows' 25th homer. It was also his 99th RBI of the season. Aside from that, Joey Wendle's opposite-field single in the fifth was the Rays only other hit.

The Rays started Collin McHugh, who got into the third inning without giving up a run. But Ryan Yarbrough followed and looked as if he was playing slow-pitch. In 2 1/3 innings, he gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs.

"His stuff is a tick down for whatever reason," Cash said. "He’s battling through it. Yarbs is a competitor. He gets frustrated when things like that happen."

Cash seemed calm despite the Rays' recent nosedive.

“We’re a pretty good team," Cash said. "We've gotten beat the last two days. Came up a little short today. We have several guys who are capable of stepping up and I’m confident we will.

The Rays try to cool off the Blue Jays tonight in a 7:07 p.m. game. Drew Rasmussen will pitch for Tampa Bay against Jose Berríos.

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