Blue Jays pour it on, thump Rays 20-1 in offensive explosion
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
The Blue Jays tallied 27 hits and 20 runs in a bounce-back game against the Rays Tuesday night to snap a five-game slide.
ST. PETERSBURG – It’s safe to say the Blue jays have been going through a bit of a rough patch of late.
Dropping six of their last seven – all to divisional opponents – they found themselves sitting plum-last in the AL East while ranking dead last in all of baseball runners left in scoring position.
Monday they opened a series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida, and dropped the series opener amid their offensive struggles.
Tuesday, on the other hand, was like a light switch as the Blue Jays attempted to right the ship with an offensive explosion that saw them snap a five-game losing streak with a 20-1 victory over baseball’s best.
Every Blue Jay in the lineup finished with at least one hit as the offence combined for a total of 27 on the night, including a fou-rhit night from George Springer – who found himself just a double shy of the cycle – and three hit nights from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Whit Merrifield, and Danny Jansen.
Although the performance doesn’t right all the wrongs this team has found themselves dealing with, Springer is hoping it can be the spark they need.
“Everything counts,” said Springer. “For us, it’s understanding that stuff that doesn't show up on a box score is just as big, if not even more important than stuff that does. And it’s just about controlling our effort and stuff like that will hopefully spiral into some more positives.”
The Blue jays looked peppy right from the off with a Vladdy RBI single in the top of the first, giving Toronto the early 1-0 lead. A struggling Springer then mashed a no-doubter over the wall in left field for a solo shot in the third.
The Blue Jays then began pouring it on, tallying RBIs throughout the lineup for what was an eventual 10-0 lead.
The top of the eighth was where things started to unravel for the Rays.
Down by 10, Tampa Bay opted to save their bullpen by bringing in first baseman Luke Raley to pitch. Matt Chapman knocked an RBI single for the 1–0 lead before things got out of hand in the ninth.
Toronto loaded the bases for Guerrero Jr. who mashed a grand slam in the top of the ninth to make it 15-1 before long balls from Chapman and Jansen for good measure.
“A little bit of relief,” is how Bichette described watching the runs pour in. “We've been, in the last couple games, swinging the bats a little bit better, making some hard outs, but it's good to get guys across, for sure.”
What may be lost in an offensive outpouring like such, was the masterclass performance from Jose Berrios. The righty delivered seven full innings of work allowing surrendering five hits and just one run.
Though the game doesn’t leapfrog them in the standings, it was certainly cathartic and one that many will hope is indicative of what’s to come.