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Franco homers as Rays beat Blue Jays

Austin Meadows had three hits, including two RBI doubles, and the Tampa Bay Rays ended their 10-game road losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Wander Franco hit his second homer for Tampa Bay, which had dropped five in a row overall. Yandy Diaz had two hits and scored twice.

The Rays trailed 1-0 before Franco connected in the sixth inning against Robbie Ray (6-4). Diaz then doubled and scored on Meadows’ first RBI double.

Tampa Bay added three more in the ninth. Meadows drove in Diaz again with his third double of the game. Taylor Walls also had an RBI double, and Mike Brosseau added a sacrifice fly.

“It was quite the pitchers’ duel early on. Robbie Ray was really challenging for us, then Wander comes up with the big home run and then we were able to add on a little bit,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It feels good to win.”

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Ryan Yarbrough (5-3) pitched five innings of four-hit ball for Tampa Bay. Collin McHugh struck out six in three innings before Diego Castillo worked the ninth.

Since returning from the injured list on May 4, McHugh has an ERA of just 0.32, allowing one earned run in 28 1/3 innings with 45 strikeouts. The six he recorded Sunday were his most as a reliever.

“It feels like a continuation of how I’ve pitched out of the bullpen since the beginning of 2018,” McHugh said. “I’ve felt pretty comfortable in this type of role.”

Randal Grichuk hit his 15th homer for Toronto in the second. Bo Bichette had two of Toronto’s six hits as the Blue Jays fell four games behind the second-place Rays in the AL East standings.

Ray allowed five hits in seven innings and finished with six strikeouts. He now has 119 in his 16 starts this season, the second-most by a Blue Jays pitcher over their first 16 starts, trailing only Roger Clemens’ 122 in 1997.

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Toronto was looking to sweep Tampa Bay for the first time in a three-game series since September 2015.

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“Coming into the series, I was thinking we had to take two of three,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Today wasn’t our best game, but I’m pleased with the two out of three that we took from the Rays.”

Tampa Bay recorded eight hits after mustering a total of 10 and batting only .156 in the first two games of the weekend set against Toronto.

Trainer’s room

Blue Jays: RHP Rafael Dolis (finger) was activated from the injured list and retired just one of the five batters he faced in the ninth inning, allowing three hits and hitting a batter. To make room on the roster, Toronto optioned LHP Nick Allgeyer, who made his MLB debut on Friday, to Triple-A Buffalo.

Up next

Rays: Return home for a three-game series against Cleveland. LHP Rich Hill (6-3, 3.70 ERA) will face Indians LHP Logan Allen (1-5, 8.38 ERA) on Monday.

Blue Jays: After an off day, Toronto will visit Baltimore for a three-game series starting Tuesday, with LHP Steven Matz (4-3, 4.48 ERA) taking the mound. The Orioles have not yet announced a starter for the series opener.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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