ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays got to Francisco Liriano early, then had to come back and score some more runs in the late innings Friday night.
Evan Longoria homered during a five-run first inning against a wild Liriano and Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison combined to go 4-for-4 off the bench for the Rays, who had 13 hits and drew seven walks in a 10-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It’s good for our starting pitchers to know we can come back and be resilient,” said Steven Souza Jr., who drove in two runs with a double. “Everybody’s clicking. Corey and (Morrison) getting those clutch hits — that’s something that didn’t really happen last year.”
Liriano faced only eight batters, walking four and giving up three hits before getting pulled.
It was the shortest start of Liriano’s career and only the second time in 257 starts that he failed to finish the first inning.
“I didn’t make any pitches. I was kind of lost out there, probably tried to do too much,” he said. “I didn’t make the pitches when I had to.”
The Blue Jays rallied for a 7-6 lead, but Tampa Bay overtook them by scoring three times in the sixth with the help of Souza’s double.
Brad Miller and Derek Norris also drove in two runs each for the Rays.
Xavier Cedeno (1-0) won despite giving up a bases-loaded walk to Troy Tulowitzki that put the Blue Jays ahead in the sixth. Alex Colome got four outs to earn his third save.
“It wasn’t by any means the prettiest game, but (I was) really impressed by some big hits, the timely hitting,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
J.P. Howell (0-1) took the loss.
Josh Donaldson and Tulowitzki hit their first home runs for Toronto.
“It’s one of those games,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It’s a tough one to lose because we had the lead late, but we’ll move on.”
The game started on time despite a late arrival by the umpiring crew. The four umps needed a police escort after a fire shut down a highway, and they got to Tropicana Field just 42 minutes before the first pitch.
The Rays’ five-run first included Daniel Robertson’s first major league hit, a single. Longoria connected for his second homer.
Tulowitzki drove in four runs. He hit a two-run double in the first off Matt Andriese, his first hit of the season after an 0-for-13 start.
FRANCHISE FIRST FOR RAYS
The combined 4-for-4 by Dickerson and Morrison marked the first time in franchise history that the Rays had multiple players come off the bench with multi-hit games. Although it happened three times in the National League last season, the last time an AL team did it was June 2, 2015, when the New York Yankees did it in an 11-inning win at Seattle.
Blue Jays: If RHP Roberto Osuna (cervical spasms) clears Saturday’s simulated game, he will come off the 10-day disabled list in time for Tuesday’s home opener.
Rays: SS Matt Duffy (Achilles’ tendon surgery) could start a running program in about 10 days. He is currently doing flexibility drills in the outfield. … OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery) will play in his second rehab game with Class A Charlotte either Saturday or Sunday.
Blue Jays: AL ERA champion Aaron Sanchez gets his first start of the season Saturday night. He has given up one run in 17 2/3 innings at Tropicana Field.
Rays: Opening day starter Chris Archer (1-0) faces the Blue Jays. Archer, 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 19 starts against Toronto, has identical 3-2 records and 3.23 ERA at both Tropicana Field (10 starts) and the Rogers Centre (nine starts).