The Rays dropped the opening game of their 3 game series against the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 ending their modest 3 game winning streak and dropping their record to 23-21. Once again it was the Rays bullpen cost that took them out of a contest as Josh Lueke walked 4-batters in giving up 3-runs in the 7th inning despite only allowing 1-hit.
Jake Odorizzi made his Rays debut and after giving up 3 runs in a bumpy 1st inning he settled down delivering 4 scoreless innings before exiting after 5 innings with the score tied 3-3. Of his 92 pitches on the afternoon 58 of them were strikes and he threw a first pitch strike to 13 of the 21 batter he faced. Coming into his start one of the negatives on his scouting report is the lack of a put away pitch which was evident as the Jays hitters were able to foul off 23 pitches. He used his 4-seam fastball (44-pitches/29 strikes/2 whiffs), slider (25 /17 /1 ), changeup (11/5/1), curveball (9/5/4 ), and 2-seam fastball (3 /2 /0).
In his five innings of work he allowed 3R/ER on 5 hits while striking out 6 and walking 1. He was replaced by Jake McGee who worked a solid inning of scoreless relief striking out 2.
Josh Lueke got the call to work the 7th inning and had been a very effective reliever for the Rays since getting his call from Triple-A Durham. He had appeared in 4 games covering 3.2 innings of work without allowing an earned run striking out 3 and walking 1. Lueke was looking to earn Joe Maddon‘s confidence and build equity to remain in the big leagues long term. Neither goal would be met.
The inning began with a walk to Emilio Bonifacio who entered the game hitting .196 and had drawn only 3 walks in 108 plate appearances. After Henry Blanco sacrificed Bonifacio to 2nd Lueke walked Munenori Kawasaki. Melky Cabrera lined out for the second out of the inning and was 1-out away from getting out of the inning. Jose Bautista drew a walk to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion who doubled to clear the bases giving the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. Joe Maddon then ordered the intentional walk to Adam Lind before removing Lueke from the game. Overall, Lueke (0-1, 6.23) allowed 3R/ER on just 1 hit while walking 4 batters.
Kyle Farnsworth followed Lueke to the mound and continued his struggles giving up a triple to Munenori Kawasaki to plate Emil Bonafacio who had singled. Jamey Wright replaced Farnsworth to record the final out of the inning.
The Rays scored a run in the top of the 2nd on a Sam Fuld ground out that scored Evan Longria who had singled to extend his hitting streak to 14 straight games. They added 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on a 2-run double by Evan Longoria plated both Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist but R.A. Dickey shut them down and turned the ball over to Casey Janssen in the 9th with a 7-3 lead.
Luke Scott led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a Sam Fuld ground out and came around to score on a Yunel Escobar home run which cut the Jays lead. Following Escobar’s home run Desmond Jennings singled and Matt Joyce walked to bring Ben Zobrist to the plate and Evan Longoria to the on-deck circle but Zobrist struck out on 3 pitches to end the Rays threat.