Blue Jays go hitless for nearly eight innings, losing 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Rays

It took the Toronto Blue Jays nearly eight innings to reach base against a pitcher with an above-5 ERA heading into today’s game, a repeating theme of their lacklustre offence this season, resulting in a 4-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Toronto was facing Tampa for their second meeting of the season. Tampa sent out SP Tyler Alexander, who faced Toronto once again this season and was looking for a better result after giving up five earned runs against the Jays back in March.

Alexander would find his groove in the game, throwing his cutter to righties for flyouts or sweepers to groundout hitters as Toronto’s lineup looked completely baffled.

For a team ranked 29th in MLB in runs entering into the game, all hope seemed lost once the Rays got their offence going.

Tampa Bay scored four runs between the sixth and seventh innings, two runs on errors made by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero Jr.’s first error came after throwing the ball wide of Ernie Clement, allowing Randy Arozarena to score from 2nd base and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. Guerrero Jr. also mishandled a groundball to Zach Pop, as Ben Rortvedt reached 1st base and later scored curiosity of Yandy Diaz. Two of Guerrero Jr.’s three errors on the season came in today’s game.

Richie Palacios also collected a two-run homer in the sixth, which knocked out Jays starter Chris Bassitt. The righty went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out five. Bassitt recorded his 900th career strikeout in the game on a pitchclock violation from Ben Rortvedt.

Backed by four runs, Alexander was bidding for a perfect game into the eighth inning until Danny Jansen singled, uplifting the fans around the Rogers Centre. Toronto’s offence quickly took an explosive turn as Davis Schneider hit a two-run homer, and suddenly, the Blue Jays were back in this game.

Toronto was on the brink of being no-hit for the second time this season, and the third time over the span of two seasons.

Alexander was eventually yanked after giving up a single to Daulton Varsho. Alexander pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out four.

The Jays collected another run off the bat of Cavan Biggio, making it a one-run game. George Springer had the chance to drive in the go-ahead run for the Blue Jays but hit into an inning-ending double play, as that’s all the lineup could muster up.

Toronto reached base only four times in the game, all coming in the eighth inning. The team now sits at 19-23 and 4.5 games back of a playoff spot.

Jays General Manager Ross Atkins, who is meeting with the media tomorrow, could answer many concerns. However, something needs to change: whether John Schneider is fired or the Jays’ hitting staff is shaken up.

Toronto will send Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.95) to the mound tomorrow, facing Rays SP Zach Eflin (3-4, 3.91). Eflin went up against the Jays on opening day, where he surrendered six earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.

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