ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jake Odorizzi has given up only eight hits in his last four starts for the Tampa Bay Rays. Three of them came in Saturday’s 6-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Jake can pitch. He moves the ball around,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He can throw different pitches at you, and he can elevate when he needs to. He’s just one of the better pitchers out there. That’s what he is, he’s a pitcher.”
Logan Morrison and Colby Rasmus hit two-run homers and Odorizzi (2-1) gave up one run in seven innings, the seventh straight time the right-hander has given up two runs or fewer in starts against Toronto.
“I’m just trying to be unpredictable, mixing locations, pitches, everything pretty well,” Odorizzi said. “We see those guys all the time so you have to keep changing things up on them.”
Morrison put the Rays up 2-1 in the third inning with his team-leading seventh home run. It came off Toronto starter Marco Estrada after a single by Evan Longoria. Morrison added an RBI double in the fifth, giving him 18 RBIs — 18 more than he had in 64 at-bats on this date a year ago.
“It’s just a start,” Morrison said. “It’s not what you’ve done, it’s what you’re going to do. (I’ll) get ready to make a positive influence on the game tomorrow.”
The home run for Rasmus, who spent the first month of the season on the disabled list while recovering from October surgeries, came on his first hit with the Rays.
Morrison and Rasmus drove in three runs each while Longoria had two hits and scored three runs.
Estrada (1-2) gave up five earned runs in six innings after giving up just three in his four previous starts. All five of the home runs Estrada has given up this season came in his two starts at Tropicana Field.
“Those guys have hit me pretty well lately,” he said.
Odorizzi gave up three hits and no walks while striking out six. He retired 18 of 19 after giving up a home run to Ezequiel Carrera in the first inning.
Carrera extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games with his second home run of the season.
Kendrys Morales had two hits for the Blue Jays, who became the first major league team to lose 20 games this season.
The Rays reinstated RHP Erasmo Ramirez from the paternity list and designated LHP Justin Marks for assignment. It was the sixth straight day the Rays made a roster move, and five involved the bullpen. “We don’t have a ton of defined roles down there right now,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Blue Jays minor league LHP T.J. House, who was hit in the head by a liner during a major league spring training game in March, had a seven-hit shutout in a seven-inning game for Triple-A Buffalo against Lehigh Valley on Saturday. House is 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA in five starts overall.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back in the lineup a day after leaving a game early because he was struck on the right hand by a pitch from Francisco Liriano.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (split finger nail) is scheduled for a bullpen session Sunday and could rejoin the rotation next weekend. … 3B Josh Donaldson (right calf) is hitting in an indoor cage but not running the bases yet. … LHP JA Happ (left elbow) is “encouraged” after throwing the past two days at 90 feet on level ground.
Toronto RHP Joe Biagini (0-1) makes his first major league start in Sunday’s series finale against Rays RHP Alex Cobb (2-2). Biagini was inserted into the Blue Jays’ injury-filled rotation following RHP Mat Latos being designated for assignment Friday.