Meadows drives in 3, Rays stay alive by routing Jays 11-3

September 22, 2018
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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Sean Reid-Foley throws to a Tampa Bay Rays batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays used big games by a pair of former National Leaguers to keep their American League wild-card playoff hopes alive.

Austin Meadows drove in three runs, Tommy Pham had two hits and two RBIs and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 on Friday night.

Pham also walked twice and added a sacrifice fly as Tampa Bay recovered from a tough, 9-8 loss Thursday, when the Blue Jays scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for the victory. The Rays have not lost consecutive games since Aug. 17-18 at Boston.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys who are quick to forget a loss,” manager Kevin Cash said. “They bounced right back and put pressure on the defense and the pitchers right out of the gate.”

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit two home runs for the Blue Jays, and Randal Grichuk added a solo shot. Toronto has lost 10 of 14 games against Tampa Bay this season.

Gurriel Jr.’s older brother, Yuli, hit two home runs for Houston on Friday night. They are the first brothers in major league history to have multihomer games on the same day.

“I’m happy for him, but for me as well,” Gurriel Jr. said through a translator.

The brothers will play one another for the first time as big leaguers next week when the Astros visit Toronto.

“I’m very happy, but I’m also curious,” Gurriel. Jr. said. “It’s a little bit weird.”

The Rays remained 6 ½-games behind Oakland in the race for the second American League wild card spot. Tampa Bay is 15-4 in September.

Pham began the season with St. Louis, while Meadows started the year with the Pirates. Both were acquired in July 31 trades.

Pham is batting .348 with five homers and 18 RBI in 30 games since joining the Rays.

“He just has a lot of solid at-bats,” Cash said. “He hits the ball really hard.”

Pham tripled for the second straight game, the second time in his career he’s done it. All five of his triples this season have come with the Rays.

“When I use the whole field, it’s kind of hard to defend,” Pham said.

Pham got an advance look at Meadows when they were opponents in the NL Central, and came away impressed.

“I played against him earlier in the season when he was with Pittsburgh and he was on fire,” Pham said. “It seemed like we couldn’t get him out.”

Promoted from Triple-A Durham on Thursday, Meadows went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double after replacing injured designated hitter Ji-Man Choi (left knee) in the sixth.

“I’m honored to be a part of this team right now, especially the way they’ve been rolling,” Meadows said.

Diego Castillo opened for the Rays and allowed one run and one hit in one inning. Jalen Beeks (5-1) followed by allowing two runs in three innings, Adam Kolarek worked 1 2-3, Hunter Wood got one out, and Austin Pruitt pitched the final three innings for his third save.

Making his sixth career start, Blue Jays right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (2-4) allowed for runs, two earned, and six hits in four-plus innings.


Gurriel, who hit a game-tying homer in the ninth inning of Toronto’s win on Thursday, became the first rookie in Blue Jays history to homer in three straight at bats when he connected off Diego Castillo in the first and off Jalen Beeks in the fourth. Gurriel Jr. is the 14th Toronto player to achieve the feat, the first since Josh Donaldson on Sept. 16-17, 2017.


Gurriel Jr.’s homers were his 10th and 11th, giving Toronto a franchise-record 11 players with at least 10 home runs. The Yankees lead the majors with 12.


After being ejected from Thursday’s game, Rays OF Carlos Gomez went to the clubhouse and posted several tweets criticizing the performance of home plate umpire Andy Fletcher. Gomez didn’t back down Friday, accusing Fletcher of missing “more than 30” pitches.

“He’s the one that should have been thrown out last night because he’s the only one who didn’t do his job,” Gomez fumed.


Rays: Cash said Choi’s knee buckled when he was running the bases after hitting a single in the first. Choi is not expected to start Saturday.


Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-6, 4.22) faces Blue Jays LHP Thomas Pannone (3-1, 3.77) on Saturday afternoon. Glasnow allowed seven runs and five hits in 2-3 of an inning in a Sept. 5 loss at Toronto. Pannone has won his past two starts, including a Sept. 16 outing at Yankee Stadium.


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