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Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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Rays journal: Blue Jays spoil wild-card bid

TORONTO — There was no drama, no emotional rescues after Saturday's game.

After feeling, appropriately, crushed after they gave away Thursday's game, blowing a six-run lead in the ninth, then bouncing back Friday, the Rays on Saturday faced a stark reality — and all but the official end of their long shot postseason hopes — in another loss to the Blue Jays, this one 5-2.

"For the first time in a while, we just got beat,'' 3B Matt Duffy said, "The guy they had on the mound (rookie LHP Thomas Pannone) did a decent job keeping us off balance. … We got beat, it's plain and simple.''

With the loss, the Rays (86-68) dropped to the verge of formal elimination from the chase for the second American League wild-card spot, 7 1/2 games behind the A's, who won again, and on a walk off wild pitch, with only eight remaining. One more Oakland win or Tampa Bay loss officially ends it.

"Even if we win out, I don't see Oakland losing six games anyway,'' Duffy said. "I've been saying it for a while — we understand the situation.''

Manager Kevin Cash had a similar, actually pretty much the same, take on the outcome, crediting Pannone and saying, "We got beat.''

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the third against Pannone, who was making his fifth big-league start, courtesy of red-hot Tommy Pham, who delivered his 20th homer (between the Cardinals and Rays, and extended his onbase streak to 24 games).

But RHP Tyler Glasnow, admittedly feeling "pretty bad from the start to the finish,'' couldn't hold the Jays down, allowing three in the fourth.

His trouble started with a leadoff walk to Justin Smoak, against whom the Rays were again playing a four-man outfield, then a one-out homer by unstoppable rookie Rowdy Tellez, who has 12 extra-base hits in his first 16 games. The Jays added another run with two outs on a single by Kevin Pillar, a double by Reese McGuire to right and poor execution by the Rays on the throw home.

"There should have been a play there,'' Cash said.

Glasnow said "it was one of those days where you have to go out and compete with what you have" and try to keep it "a relatively close game,'' which he did.

Cash had a more charitable view of his six-inning outing: "Other than one little blip there, I thought Glas threw another really, really strong outing.''

In 10 starts with the Rays, Glasnow is 1-5, 4.11.

The Rays got within 3-2 in the seventh when Jesus Sucre delivered his first homer of the season, but then LHP Jose Alvarado, unscored on in his previous 15 appearances, gave up two runs on three hits.

Gomez followup

OF Carlos Gomez said he had not heard anything yet from Major League Baseball officials after his Twitter rant and comments criticizing home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher stemming from a called third strike and ejection on Thursday. MLB tends to look closely at those situations, and a fine or suspension would seem possible. Gomez said he wasn't worried and would appeal any disciplinary action. He started at DH on Saturday but went 0-for-3.

Meadows gazing

Cash has had a good initial impression of OF Austin Meadows, the promising prospect acquired from Pittsburgh in the Chris Archer trade who rapped three hits and stole a base coming off the bench Friday, though he was 0-for-4 Saturday. "Excited,'' Cash said. "He looks like a pretty physical guy. We noticed that in spring training (playing against the Pirates). You look at the Jumbotron and see his stats, what he did in Pittsburgh this year (.292, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs, .795 OPS in 49 games), with the opportunities, he's made the most of them. Watching him run when he stole a base, it didn't look he was that fast, but it was kind of uncontested, so he's moving. There's a lot to like. He's always been a guy that they've talked about that he's got all the tools to be a pretty impactful player. Now we've got to find that consistency to give him that lane.''

Number of the day

59 Delightful degrees at first pitch, with the Rogers Centre roof thankfully open.

Miscellany

• CF Kevin Kiermaier was "a little banged up" from a slide Thursday, Cash said, and thus out of the lineup. DH Ji-Man Choi, who left Friday's game with a sore knee, pinch-hit Saturday, walking in the ninth.

• The Rays have won the season series against the Jays in nine of the past 11 seasons.

• The 56 one-run games ties the team record for a season (2010, 2015) as do the 30 one-run losses (2015).

• A fitness day, including morning boot camp and yoga sessions (led by ex-Ray Aaron Ledesma) on the field, is planned for next Saturday, included with a discounted $35 lower-level ticket at the Trop. See groupmatics.events/event/FitnessDay9.29.

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