Smyly Dominates In Complete Game Gem
For the second consecutive game a Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher shut the opposition out as the Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 in the first game of their three game series. The shutout was the 17th for the Rays pitching staff tying the single season franchise record set last year.
The victory improves the Rays record to 62-64 and move to 11 games behind the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles and 6.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners who take over the top spot in the race for the second wild card after their dramatic victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Drew Smyly (8-10, 3.42 ERA) threw his first career complete game shutout allowing just two hits striking out four and walking none. It was his third straight start of at least seven innings after only reaching that mark three times in 37 previous career starts. It was also his third consecutive quality start and he lowered his ERA to 1.55 (5 ER/29 IP) since being acquired by the Rays on July 31st.
Joe Maddon described Smyly’s start as artistic telling MLB.com’s Chris Toman: “The fact that he went out there with a game plan, and him and [catcher] Curt Casali recreated that game plan,” Maddon said, when asked to explain what made the outing artistic. “When theory and reality come together, that’s a beautiful thing to watch. I would say the essence of theory and reality coming together equals art.”
The Rays offense continued to pressure Stroman and tacked on single runs in the fourth inning on a Kevin Kiermaier RBI double and the fifth inning thanks to a throwing error by Jays second baseman Steve Tolleson.
Heading to the top of the sixth the Rays had built a 3-0 lead and broke the game open putting up four runs and knocking Stroman out of the game. Curt Casali and Kevin Kiermaier opened the inning with back to back singles and Casali came in to score on a RBI single by Desmond Jennings which knocked Stroman out of the game.
Wil Myers finished the scoring for the Rays blasting a solo homer off Kyle Drabek in the eighth inning. It was Myers first hit since returning from the disabled list and first home run since May 28th in Toronto against Liam Hendriks.
The Rays offense finished the game with 14 hits led by Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria who each had three hits on the night.
The Rays currently have a streak of 19 consecutive road games where their pitching staff has held the opposition to three runs or less. Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 2.65 ERA) will look to extend that streak at 1:07 p.m. as the Jays counter with left hander Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.38 ERA).