Jake Bauers’s first career home run highlighted a big night for Rays rookies.
Bauers put Tampa Bay ahead in the fourth inning and the Rays went on to an 8-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
Bauers and fellow 22-year-old Willy Adames drove in four runs, and left-hander Ryan Yarbough pitched six innings to help the Rays win for only the second time in 11 games.
Playing in his fifth major league game, Bauers got on base his first four times and scored three runs. The rookie first baseman spent much of the game looking across the diamond at Adames, a shortstop who was recalled from the minor leagues earlier Monday.
“We kept making eye contact,” Bauers said. “We’ve played for three or four years (in the minors) with each other, and for all of it to come together here now, it was pretty special.”
Bauers’s two-run homer off Sam Gaviglia after Matt Duffy’s single erased a 4-3 Toronto lead in the fourth inning.
Tampa Bay tacked on three runs in the seventh with the help of two errors on the same play by reliever John Axford.
Joey Wendle hit a bases-loaded dribbler back to the mound that Axford bobbled, then picked up and threw wildly to enable two runs to score.
“It’s never an easy play,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “When you bobble it, you start rushing and that’s what happened.”
Adames followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4.
Yarbrough, who leads the major leagues with 44 relief innings, started and pitched six innings. The 26-year-old rookie survived a shaky start in which he gave up seven hits to the first 16 batters he faced, including Teoscar Hernandez’s 11th home run.
But he didn’t worry about being yanked early from his fourth career start.
“With what I’ve been doing, either starting or coming into the game in the second inning, my job is to go as deep into the game as possible,” he said. “So that’s kind of what I did. To be able to go six innings was really big for me, especially the way things have been going.”
Yarbrough (5-2) gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out three in his first start since May 14.
Gaviglia (2-2) gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Rays Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb torn ligament) is hopeful of returning June 22 for a series against the New York Yankees. He faced two minor leaguers in a simulated game and will join Class A Charlotte on Tuesday.
GUERRERO SHOWS UP
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. attended the game while in the process of rehabbing the strained patellar tendon in his left knee. “I’m not frustrated at all. Stuff happens that you can’t control,” said Toronto’s 19-year-old 3B prospect, who has driven in 55 runs in 53 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He is expected to miss at least four weeks.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (right knee) was back in the lineup after sitting out two games. … 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) took live batting practice but is not yet running the bases at 100 per cent. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will start for Class A Dunedin Wednesday night.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) had a Tuesday simulated game postponed after feeling discomfort one day after a 22-pitch bullpen session. … Adeiny Hechavarria (strained right hamstring) went 0 for 3 in his first rehab game for Class A Port Charlotte.
Jaime Garcia (2-4, 5.57 ERA) will pitch Tuesday night’s game for Toronto in a “bullpen day” for the Rays. Ryne Stanek (1-1) will start for Tampa Bay.