Rays vs. Blue Jays – Game Recap – September 15, 2022

TORONTO — Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run, and the Tampa Bay Rays — who started Roberto Clemente Day with an unprecedented nine Latino players — beat Toronto 11-0 on Thursday to tie the Blue Jays within half a game of the Wildcard hunt.

Clemente, the late Puerto Rico Hall of Fame outfielder, was a two-time World Series winner and NL MVP, playing 18 seasons for Pittsburgh. The Blue Jays’ Latin American starters hail from five countries: Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

“Very happy, especially on a day like today,” Díaz said. “I think Latinos are really putting a stamp on the game of baseball.”

All nine Rays starters, as well as base coaches Chris Prieto and Rodney Linares, wore the #21 in honor of Clemente. The nine starters posed for a photo on the field after the game.

Díaz said he hopes to put his jersey and a line-up card in a frame to commemorate the historic day.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the lineup was based on the batters he intended to field against Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman.

“We’ve got Gausman as the reverse split guy, so load up the righties,” Cash said. “It just turned out that they all had the Latino background.”

Shane McClanahan returned from the injured list to field five shutout innings.

“I really wanted to go back and help this team in any way I could,” McClanahan said.

Isaac Paredes hit a solo home run and added an RBI single as the Rays (80-63) won the fifth and final game of the series. Toronto (81-63) will have a four-game series starting next Thursday in Tampa Bay.

Seattle (80-62), which holds one of the three AL wildcards, was idle Thursday but moved ahead of Toronto by percentage points.

Díaz homered in a second inning with four runs, his ninth. Paredes made it 5-0 with an opening goal in the seventh, his 19th.

Randy Arozarena had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth, and Manuel Margot later added a three-run double in the six-run frame as Tampa Bay bulked against right-handers Trevor Richards and David Phelps.

McClanahan (12-5), left off the injured list after missing 15 games with a left shoulder impact, allowed three hits, hit out five and footed one.

“We’re better with him than without him, there’s no doubt about that,” said Cash. He’s such a talented pitcher.”

The left-hander tossed by two singles in the first inning and then knocked out 14 of the last 16 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 2.13.

“He was so mean today,” said Ray’s catcher René Pinto. “We’re not machines, but he looks like one.”

JT Chargois hit two outs in the sixth, Jason Adam played 1 1/3 innings, Javy Guerra threw the eighth and Kevin Herget finished the six-hitter, Tampa Bay’s 10th shutout.

Gausman (12-10) allowed five carries and six hits in seven innings for a streak of four straight wins. He crossed seven and went one.

“Too many mistakes and mistakes that are magnified with the guys on base,” Gausman said.

After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette hit singles in the first back-to-back, the pair pulled off a double steal. McClanahan escaped by hitting Matt Chapman and tricking Teoscar Hernández into flying out.

Bichette doubled JT Chargois in the sixth and advanced at Chapman’s infield single, but Hernández struck before Adam tagged in to beat pinch hitter Cavan Biggio.

HONOR CLEMENTE

Bichette, right-hander José Berríos, outfielder George Springer and third-base coach Luis Rivera wore the #21 for Toronto.

GOOD DEAL

Two fans from Toronto’s Korean community gave Ray’s bat Ji-Man Choi a few treats during batting practice, including one that said Choco Pie. Choi retaliated with some signed baseballs.

Roster Movements:

Tampa Bay optioned LHP Josh Fleming to Triple-A Durham to clear a roster spot for McClanahan.

TRAINING ROOM

Rays: RHP Shane Baz (right elbow) started throwing on flat ground but won’t be returning this season, Cash said.

Blue Jays: C Alejandro Kirk (left hip) was unavailable. Kirk didn’t play on Wednesday.

NEXT

Rays: RHP Corey Kluber (10-8, 4.36 ERA) starts Friday as the Rays return home to host Texas. LHP Martín Pérez (11-6, 2.77 ERA) goes for Rangers.

Blue Jays: Toronto did not name a starter for Friday’s home game against Baltimore. RHP Jordan Lyles (10-10, 4.62 ERA) starts for the Orioles.

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