Kean Wong records 1st MLB hit as Rays rally to best Blue Jays
Robertson drove in runs with a double in the seventh inning and a single in the eighth as the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Saturday night.
“There’s going to be a different guy every night with this roster we have,” Robertson said. “You’ve just got to be ready when you’re called upon, but that is a great feeling. …Failing and then doing it, that’s pretty cool, too.”
The 25-year-old infielder has struggled through a season of slumps and injuries, in the majors and the minors, and came into Saturday’s game with a .203 batting average.
“He’s probably had more downs than ups to this point,” manager Kevin Cash said, “but like we’ve said to everybody: You’re here, you’re here to help us win and you can kind of forget the (first) five months of the season.
We’ve put ourselves in position for the sixth month now. It’s all hands on deck.”
Travis d’Arnaud and Robertson drove in the decisive runs with two outs in the eighth inning, helping Tampa Bay to its ninth win in 10 games.
In the eighth, Jordan Romano (0-2) walked pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi and Kevin Kiermaier hit a double. D’Arnoud lofted a pinch-hit sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Michael Brosseau and broke a 3-3 tie. Robertson, whose double had tied the game in the seventh, hit a single off Ryan Tepera that drove in Kiermaier with an insurance run.
Nick Anderson (5-4) got the win and Oliver Drake struck out three straight for his second save in three tries for the Rays, who are battling Oakland and Cleveland for the American League wild-card spots.
The Blue Jays lost their six straight despite a strong outing by Anthony Kay in his major league debut.
Consecutive singles by Avisail Garcia, Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows produced Tampa Bay’s first run off Kay in the fourth inning, and the rookie walked in another run. But Kay struck out Kiermaier and Mike Zunino with the bases loaded, thwarting a possible big inning by the Rays.
The 24-year-old left-hander, acquired from the New York Mets in the Marcus Stroman trade of July 28, gave up four hits and three walks while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings.
“He’s a bulldog on the mound. He pitches inside, he changes speeds. He did a great job,” said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. “Eight strikeouts against a good lineup. He was awesome. I wanted to say ‘wow’ and he was wow.”
Kay became the 19th starting pitcher used by the Blue Jays this season, tied for second-most in American League history behind the 24 used in 1915 by the Philadelphia Athletics.
“It hasn’t sunk in fully yet,” Kay said. “Just having my friends and family here, I think, makes it the most special. It was really cool.”
Rays starter Charlie Morton was dominant until the sixth, when he gave up four hits and a walk. Bases-loaded singles by Reese McGuire and Jonathan Davis drove in two runs, and Billy McKinney drove in a third with a 400-foot fly ball, giving Toronto a 3-2 lead before Morton finished his outing with his 10th strikeout.
Morton went six innings, reaching a career high of 176 1/3 innings in his 30th start. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks.
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, DAD
Kean Wong‘s pinch-hit single in the seventh was the first hit of his major league career, and he scored the tying run on Robertson’s double. “I’m going to give (the ball) to my dad. He’s here right now,” said Wong, a 23-year-old infielder from Hawaii who is in his seventh season in the Rays organization.
Blue Jays: INF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is still not running well enough to rejoin the team after straining his left quad Aug. 8. … Barring a setback, C Luke Maile (strained left oblique) will be activated next week.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell pitched two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Durham in his first appearance since July 22, when he went on the injured list with loose bodies in his left elbow. The 2018 Cy Young Award winner threw 24 pitches, giving up a run on two hits and two walks while striking out two. … INF Brandon Lowe (left quadriceps strain) ran the arc behind the infield dirt and could face live pitching next week. … LF Tommy Pham (right arm flexor strain) was the DH after not playing Friday.
Blue Jays: RHP Jacob Waguespack (4-3) will make his 10th start of the season. He pitched six shutout innings in a 2-0 win here on Aug. 5.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (6-1), out since May 11 due a strained right forearm, will start Sunday’s game. He is expected to throw two to three innings.