|Rays keep faint wild-card hopes alive vs. Blue Jays|
TORONTO - The Tampa Bay Rays were not about to let their lead against the Toronto Blue Jays slip away again Friday night.
After blowing an 8-2 ninth-inning lead Thursday night as the Blue Jays scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 9-8, the Rays kept adding to their advantage Friday.
As a result, they gained a split in the first two games of the four-game series at the Rogers Centre with an 11-3 victory with Austin Pruitt pitching the final three innings to earn the save.
"It's yesterday, you can't dwell on the past," said Rays outfielder Tommy Pham, who had two RBIs Friday and tripled for the second game in a row as his team rebounded with 15 hits.
The Rays enter Saturday's action 6 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the race for the American League's second wild-card spot.
The Rays have won six of their past seven games and are 15-4 in September.
"We were able to bounce back today and put up a great game overall," said Rays September call-up Austin Meadows, who had three RBIs Friday.
Meadows took over at designated hitter from Ji-Man Choi in the sixth inning Friday and produced a two-run single. He added two more hits, including a double and an RBI single.
Choi left the game with a sore left knee and has been listed as day-to-day.
Tampa Bay (86-67) will start right-hander Tyler Glasnow (2-6, 4.22 ERA) Saturday in the third game of the series at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays (70-84) will counter with left-hander Thomas Pannone (3-1, 3.77).
In the first two games of the series, the Rays have employed openers to go one-plus inning and one inning, respectively, and then have used what is being called a primary pitcher to go multiple innings. They have used an "opener" 51 times this season.
In the game Saturday, Tampa Bay will use a more conventional starter in Glasnow, although all of his 34 outings for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season were in relief, and he has been converted to starter after his trade to the Rays.
In his most recent start, against the Texas Rangers Monday, which Tampa Bay won 3-0, Glasnow did not allow a hit until Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled with two outs in the fifth inning. Both hits that he allowed in six innings were infield singles, and it marked the longest scoreless outing of his career. He struck out six in recording his first win with the Rays, and it was his second win this season and fourth of his career.
Since he was acquired as part of the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates, Glasnow is 1-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 49 strikeouts in nine starts. The deal also included Meadows.
Glasnow started against the Blue Jays Sept. 5, allowing seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. In his other eight starts, he has allowed one or no runs five times. He has allowed three hits or fewer in six starts with the Rays.
He has faced the Blue Jays twice in his career, both since the trade and both at Rogers Centre, going 0-1 with a 12.71 ERA with his other start lasting five innings.
Pannone was acquired last season in a trade that sent Joe Smith to the Cleveland Indians.
In his past two starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He is 3-1 with a 4.18 ERA in his four starts this season. In six games as a reliever with Toronto, he has a 2.45 ERA. In two appearances against Tampa Bay, both as a reliever, he has an ERA of 6.75 ERA.
The Blue Jays got two home runs from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who has 11 for the season. The Blue Jays have a franchise-high 11 players with 10 or more homers this season.
His brother, Yuli, also homered twice for the Houston Astros Friday night. They are the first brothers to hit multiple home runs on the same day.
"Kendrys Morales told me, 'Congratulations,'" Gurriel said. "And I just said, 'Thank you.' And I thought it was because I hit two homers, but then he told me my brother also hit two homers."