Rays begin final series with loss to Blue Jays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays, and especially Brandon Guyer, got knocked around Friday night and fell to Toronto 8-4, saddling the Rays with their second straight losing season.
Guyer was hit three times by pitches, all thrown by Mark Buehrle, tying a major league record and extending his club record for a season to 24.
"It is frustrating at times because I want to hit, but it’s my natural instinct to stay in there so I can’t do anything about it," said Guyer, who walked in his only other plate appearance.
"He’s not trying to hit me. He’s trying to come in hard with cutters, and he missed a little bit. Some other batters might move their leg to get out of the way, but I don’t know how to do that," he said.
The loss left the Rays at 78-82.
Troy Tulowitzki doubled and singled in returning to the Toronto lineup after missing three weeks with injuries.
Tulowitzki went 2 for 5 and scored a run. Earlier in the day, the star shortstop homered and doubled twice in a simulated game against Toronto minor league pitchers at Tropicana Field.
Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin homered for the Blue Jays, tied with Kansas City in the race for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Buehrle (15-7) gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He is two innings away from reaching 200 for the 15th consecutive season.
Tampa Bay starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed four runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings. Enny Romero (0-2) took the loss.
Tulowitzki hadn’t played since Sept. 12, when he cracked his scapula and bruised muscles in his upper back after colliding with outfielder Kevin Pillar in a game against the New York Yankees.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons plans to give Tulowitzki Saturday night’s game off and then have him play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rays.
Mikie Mahtook hit a three-run homer off Buehrle to complete a four-run fifth that gave the Rays a 4-1 lead, but the lead was gone by the time the Rays got up to bat again.
"We talk about shutdown innings. That (sixth) would have been a nice time to get a shutdown inning. We did not," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We misplayed a couple balls in the outfield. We just made some young mistakes . . . it just wasn’t very pretty."
FORSYTHE CHOSEN RAYS MVP
Second baseman Logan Forsythe, who started the season as a utility player, was chosen the Rays most valuable player by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Forsythe is hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.
Rays: C Curt Casali, out since Aug. 26 with a strained left hamstring, will not play again this season.
Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada (13-8) and Rays RHP Chris Archer (12-13) are Saturday night’s scheduled starters.