Bassitt becomes AL's second 15-game winner as Blue Jays beat Rays 6-2
Toronto Blue Jays' Chris Bassitt follows through on a pitch to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press
Published Friday, September 22, 2023 9:55PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 22, 2023 11:20PM EDT
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays got a big win, while the Tampa Bay Rays lost more than a game.
Chris Bassitt became the American League's second 15-game winner and the Blue Jays beat the Rays 6-2 on Friday night in a matchup of teams holding the top two AL wild-card positions.
Bassitt (15-8) allowed two runs and six hits while striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings. He tied Tampa Bay's Zach Eflin for the AL lead in wins.
“Kind of typical him, you know,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Goes into the seventh. We get in at three in the morning, and he's unfazed. Didn't walk anybody. He was really in total control after the first inning, I thought.”
Jordan Romano replaced Jordan Hicks with two on and two outs in the eighth and walked Isaac Paredes on four pitches before retiring Curtis Mead on a grounder to preserve a 4-2 lead. The right-hander then worked the ninth to get his 36th save in 39 chances.
Daulton Varsho hit a solo homer during a two-run ninth for the Blue Jays, who began play holding the second AL wild card by a half-game over Texas and Seattle. The Rangers hosted the Mariners on Friday night.
“Obviously we have a long way to go to get to what we want to do, but I think we're definitely on the right path,” Bassitt said.
The Rays, who have a comfortable lead in the wild-card race and have already clinch a playoff berth, started the day 1 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. The Orioles, who own the tiebreaker, were at Cleveland on Friday night.
Rays All-Star left fielder Randy Arozarena exited after the fourth inning with right quadriceps tightness. He legged out a double in the first and scored the game's first run on Harold Ramirez's RBI single.
Arozarena is day to day.
Tampa Bay center fielder Jose Siri missed his 10th straight game with a broken right hand. Another outfielder, Luke Raley, was placed on the 10-day injured list before the game due to a cervical strain.
After the game, it was announced that Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, who fouled a ball off his leg Thursday, will miss four to six weeks with a fractured right patella.
“There's a lot to be excited about with this club that we've done just a tremendous job of being resilient,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said, “We'll be as tested as ever now with some of the guys that were losing.”
Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (9-7) had given up just one hit and a walk until George Springer had a one-out single in the sixth.
After stealing second, Springer scored to tie it at 1 on Bo Bichette's single that deflected off the glove of diving first baseman Yandy Diaz. Alejandro Kirk picked up an RBI to make it 2-1 on the third consecutive walk by Glasnow, which ended his night.
Kevin Kelly replaced Glasnow and hit Matt Chapman with a pitch to force in a run, then allowed an RBI single to Varsho as Toronto took a 4-1 lead.
“That's how we have to win ballgames,” Bassitt said. “If our pitching is keeping us in games, games like this can happen where we're just going to try to outlast you.”
Mead got the Rays within 4-2 on his first career homer, a seventh-inning drive off Bassitt.
Glasnow permitted four runs, three hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., slowed by knee discomfort, was the DH. He could start at first base Saturday. â€¦ 1B Brandon Belt (lumbar spine muscle spasms) is hitting off a pitching machine and could be nearing a return.
Rays: RHP Jason Adam left in the ninth with an oblique injury. â€¦ Raley received an injection in the nerve area.
Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (3-3) and Rays RHP Zack Littell (3-6) are Saturday's starters.