Wander Franco drives in three runs and Rays edge Blue Jays 10-5

Mark Diddler, The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wander Franco drove in three runs and the Tampa Bay Rays outscored the Toronto Blue Jays 10-5 on Thursday night in Game 1 of a four-game series between the two division rivals.

Jonathan Aranda homered and Randy Arozarena had three hits and two RBIs for the Rays, who are coming off a three-game series in which they were swept by the Houston Astros.

“Baseball is weird. I saw a result tonight that was a little different,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. The players did a good job of forgetting what happened, they were ready to come to work and improve and they found a way to win.

The Rays (83-67) came within a game of the Blue Jays (84-66) and ranked first among teams drafted from the American. The Seattle Mariners (82-67) are third, four games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.

Whit Merrifield hit two long drives for the Torontonians as Teoscar Hernández homered. José Berríos (11-6) allowed six runs and seven hits in two innings of work.

“It was a little weird getting ahead in the count but not putting the batters out,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said of Berríos, who threw 74 pitches.

The Toronto team has lost three of its last four outings after entering September with 13 wins in 17 games.

A run single from Manuel Margot and productive hits from Franco and Arozarena gave the Rays a 6-3 lead in the second inning.

Franco added a two-run double on a fourth inning three-run for the Rays.

“I think we made the right adjustments tonight (Thursday), said Franco. We played very well and we hope to continue with the same energy.

Cash decided to replace fly-half JT Chargois with Ryan Yarbrough to start the second inning.

Hernández homered as the first batter, his seventh in 34 appearances against Yarbrough. One out later, Merrifield tied the game at 3-3 with a solo slap.

Merrifield also hit a two-run long ball in the ninth inning.

Yarbrough eventually left the game in the third inning due to discomfort in the right side of his body.

Garrett Cleavinger replaced Yarbrough and shut out the Blue Jays for two innings before Shawn Armstrong, Brooks Raley and Colin Poche gave nothing for three innings.

Aranda homered on Berríos’ second pitch on a first inning three-run. Arozarena hit a one-run double and after going to third base, he scored on a wild pitch.

Bo Bichette had a one-run double for the Blue Jays in the first inning. He’s now produced 24 points in 21 games in September.


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