Rookie Pannone wins 3rd straight start, Jays beat Rays 5-2

September 23, 2018 GMT
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Toronto Blue Jays starter Thomas Pannone pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during first inning baseball action in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto Blue Jays starter Thomas Pannone pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during first inning baseball action in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays became the latest playoff contender to lose to Toronto rookie left-hander Thomas Pannone.

Pannone pitched 6 2-3 innings to win his third straight start, Rowdy Tellez homered and drove in three and the Blue Jays beat the Rays 5-2 Saturday, dealing another blow to Tampa Bay’s faint playoff hopes.

In his previous two starts, Pannone got the best of playoff-bound Cleveland and the New York Yankees.

“It definitely gives me the confidence that I know my stuff can play here,” Pannone said. “I’m facing good lineups, good hitters and I’m turning them over pretty well. I just want to continue to do that.”

Tellez singled in the second, hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and added an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth.

“We’ve got to somehow figure out how to get Tellez out,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s kind of beat us up this series.”

Making his fifth major league start, Pannone (4-1) allowed two runs and six hits. He walked three, struck out five, and left to a standing ovation.

“He had good stuff, was locating well,” Rays infielder Joey Wendle said of Pannone. “He kind of silenced us for a while.”

After Pham opened the scoring in the third with his 20th home run, Pannone walked the bases loaded but escaped further damage by striking out Willy Adames.

“He’s kind of funky,” Adames said. “You don’t get a good read off the ball.”

The Blue Jays responded with a three-run fourth against Tyler Glasnow (2-7). Justin Smoak drew a leadoff walk and Tellez hit a one-out homer, his third. One out later, Kevin Pillar singled and scored on Reese McGuire’s double.

Tommy Pham and Jesus Sucre hit solo home runs for the Rays, who slipped 7 ½ games behind Oakland, a 3-2 winner over the Twins, in the race for the second AL wild card. Tampa Bay has eight games remaining.

“We’ve been playing our tails off to get into contention,” Wendle said. “We’re going to continue to do that and see what happens.”

Toronto has won two of the first three of the four-game set, rallying with a seven-run ninth inning in Thursday’s 9-8 win. The Blue Jays are 5-10 against the Rays this season.

Pannone gave up a two-out homer to Sucre in the seventh and left after the next batter, Mallex Smith, reached on an infield single. Ryan Tepera came on and walked Pham, then struck out Matt Duffy to end the threat.

Tyler Clippard worked the eighth and Ken Giles finished for his 24th save in 24 opportunities.

Glasnow allowed three runs and six hits in six innings in losing for the fourth time in five starts. He’s 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in three starts against Toronto.


Tellez has 12 extra-base hits in his first 16 games, tied for fourth most since 1913. Joe DiMaggio (1936), Chris Dickerson (2008) and Trevor Storey (2016) each had 13.


Pannone said he enjoyed walking off with the crowd of 27,648 on their feet.

“It’s probably the coolest feeling ever when you walk off the mound and everyone is standing up like that cheering at you,” Pannone said. “It’s overwhelming in that moment. You look up and you’re like ‘Wow, all these people are cheering for me right now.’”


Fifteen of Pham’s 20 homers this season have been solo blasts.


Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier was held out of the starting lineup. Manager Kevin Cash said Kiermaier was “a little banged up.” ... DH Ji-Man Choi (left knee) did not start but came on as a pinch hitter in the ninth, drawing a one-out walk. Choi left Friday’s game after five innings.


Rays LHP Blake Snell (20-5, 1.97) faces Blue Jays LHP Ryan Borucki (4-4, 3.86) in Sunday’s series finale. Snell is 8-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his past eight starts, striking out 63 batters over 46 innings in that stretch. Borucki pitched eight shutout innings to beat Baltimore in his previous outing, snapping a three-start winless streak.


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