Rays Open Weekend Series With Win Over Jays

ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- Austin Meadows' 27th home run of the season broke a 4-4 tie, helping the Tampa Bay Rays pull out a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Lakewood High's Bo Bichette started the game against Austin Pruitt by working a 13-pitch at-bat that culminated with him hitting a home run to right, his ninth of the year, to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

But the right-hander would settle down from that point, allowing just three other hits and no more runs in his five innings of work, while Tampa Bay took the lead in the fourth, as Austin Meadows doubled with one out against Trent Thornton, and when Justin Smoak couldn't handle the throw from shortstop on a ground ball by Tommy Pham, Meadows would score to tie the game. Ji-Man Choi drew a walk and Kevin Kiermaier singled two batters later to load the bases, and Avisail Garcia broke the tie with a sacrifice fly.

The Rays added an insurance run in the fifth, loading the bases on Thornton and forcing in a run on a bases loaded walk to Travis d'Arnaud.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. cut the lead back to 3-2 in the sixth with a base hit that scored Cavan Biggio, who reliever Hoby Milner hit with a pitch to start the inning, but Nate Lowe's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning brought in Garcia, who tripled to begin the home half of the frame to re-establish the two-run lead.

Bichette tied the game in the seventh with a two-run homer to left off Oliver Drake, but the right-hander escaped the inning with the game toed, and Meadows took the second pitch of the inning against Buddy Boshers and blasted it to left to break the tie.

 

The DH added an RBI double in the eighth off Ryan Tepera for another insurance run.

Diego Castillo worked a scoreless eighth, and Emilio Pagan closed out the ninth for his 17th save.

The win gets Tampa Bay to a season best 24 games over .500 on the year, and maintains their one-game lead for the top wild card position over the Oakland Athletics.

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