Lowe helps Rays beat Blue Jays 5-2 for 6th straight win
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Lowe is finding his form heading into the All-Star break.
Lowe homered twice and Mike Zunino also connected, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Saturday for their sixth consecutive win.
Ryan Yarbrough (6-3) pitched five innings of two-run ball, improving to 5-0 in his last 12 appearances. The left-hander is 8-1 in 16 appearances against Toronto.
Matt Wisler (one hit in 1 2/3 innings) and Pete Fairbanks (1 1/3 innings) combined for three innings before Diego Castillo finished the six-hitter for his 13th save. Rays relievers have given up two hits over 16 scoreless innings in the past three games.
Lowe has four career multihomer games, including May 21 against the Blue Jays.
“B-Lowe is really turning his season around,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
After hitting under .200 for a large part of the season, Lowe went 2 for 3 and raised his average to .208.
Marcus Semien hit his 22nd homer for the Blue Jays, who have lost four of five.
“Anytime he is at the plate he’s got a chance to hit one out,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s got power to all fields so that’s been fun for me to watch.”
Toronto led 2-1 before Tampa Bay scored three times in the third. Zunino led off the inning with his 19th homer. Kevin Kiermaier then doubled and Lowe made it 4-2 with a two-run shot off Ross Stripling (3-5).
Lowe opened the scoring with his 19th homer, connecting on the first pitch leading off the first. He has gone deep six times over his last eight games.
“I feel normal,” Lowe said. “I don’t think that I’m on a tear or hot as I can be, I definitely feel better at the plate. Hopefully keep trending in the right direction.”
Randy Arozarena added an eighth-inning RBI single for the Rays.
Semien’s two-run shot off Yarbrough gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead in the third.
“He competed with what he had,” Cash said of Yarbrough, who threw 104 pitches. “I don’t think it was coming easy for him the first couple innings. Give Yarbs a ton of credit just for fighting through some of the stuff.”
Toronto had runners on the corners with two outs in the first when Zunino, an All-Star catcher, picked Vladimir Guerrero Jr. off first base.
Stripling allowed four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander had allowed 12 earned runs over 46 innings in his previous eight appearances.
“Today he didn’t have his best stuff,” Montoyo said. “That’s going to happen.”
ALL STAR SPECIAL SESSION
Rays infielder Joey Wendle found out after a 7-1 win over Toronto on Friday night that he was being added to the AL All Star team.
Cash surprisingly called a postgame meeting.
“Got everybody together after the game and just told the guys, he said ‘Hey, Mike Trout was selected for the All-Star Game but he can’t come so they wanted the next best player in the league, Joey Wendle,’” Wendle said. “It was pretty fun.”
It is Wendle’s first All-Star selection.
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette tracked down Austin Meadows’ first-inning foul ball near the third-base wall in front of the bullpen after starting in a defensive shift position. He nearly duplicated the feat on Meadows in the third on a foul in the bullpen area.
The Rays are a majors-best 34-17, including 21-4 at home, since May 13. … Tampa Bay has allowed three or fewer runs an AL-leading 50 times.
Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (left forearm flexor strain) was scheduled to make his second appearance Saturday with Triple-A Buffalo. He may have another minor league outing on Tuesday.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (right forearm tightness) will start a rehab assignment Monday with Florida Complex League Rays. … RHP Nick Anderson (right elbow strain) had a bullpen session and remains on target to return next month.
Toronto LHP Robbie Ray (6-4) and Rays LHP Rich Hill (6-3) are Sunday’s starters.
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