Vladimir Guerrero Jr., hit his 45th home run of the season, Teoscar Hernandez had a career-high five hits and Alek Manoah was dominant over eight innings as the Toronto Blue Jays dumped the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Monday night.
Bo Bichette also hit a solo homer and Hernandez scored twice. The bottom third of Toronto’s order — Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk and Breyvic Valera – had three hits apiece.
Manoah (6-2) retired the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Joey Wendle in the fifth. He had 10 strikeouts, hit a batter and didn’t issue a walk.
Austin Meadows spoiled Toronto’s shutout plans with a two-out solo homer in the ninth off reliever Trevor Richards.
The Blue Jays extended their win streak to four games — scoring a whopping 52 runs along the way — and have earned victories in 12 of their last 13 games overall.
💥 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PLAKATA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PLAKATA</a> NUMBER 45 💥<br><br>He’s your <a href=”https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MLB</a> leader! <a href=”https://t.co/wqSYpLONz0″>pic.twitter.com/wqSYpLONz0</a>
Toronto (81-63) moved a season-high 18 games above the .500 mark. Tampa Bay (89-55) has dropped four of its last five.
The American League East-leading Rays still have a comfortable eight-game lead on Toronto in the divisional race.
The Blue Jays moved a half-game up on Boston in the race for the first AL wild-card spot. The Red Sox were scheduled to play later Monday night at Seattle.
Manoah, a rookie right-hander, had the Rays handcuffed all evening, throwing 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes. Toronto outhit Tampa 17-2.
Tampa Bay starter Collin McHugh pitched into the third inning as the Rays’ opener. He was replaced by Ryan Yarbrough (8-5), who gave up three straight one-out singles before Grichuk’s RBI double made it 2-0. Valera followed with a two-run single.
In the fifth, Bichette turned on a 2-2 pitch for his 24th homer. Hernandez doubled and scored on a single by Gurriel, who came across on a Valera single and the rout was on.
Guerrero’s solo shot came off a 97 m.p.h. fastball from Adam Conley. It had a game-high exit velocity of 113.9 m.p.h.
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier made a brilliant jumping catch against the wall in the seventh inning to deny Gurriel an extra-base hit.
Kevin Kiermaier got UP! 😱 <a href=”https://t.co/2jhnVAiIrq”>pic.twitter.com/2jhnVAiIrq</a>
Announced attendance was 12,119 and the game took two hours 53 minutes to play.
The Blue Jays recalled left-hander Ryan Borucki before the game and optioned right-hander Trent Thornton to triple-A Buffalo.
Right-handers will face off Tuesday with Toronto sending Jose Berrios (11-7, 3.52 ERA) to the mound against Drew Rasmussen (2-1, 3.25). The three-game series will wrap Wednesday with a matinee. Softball pitcher Jenna Caira threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She helped the Canadian softball team win bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.