Springer homers, Jays beat Rays 7-2 for doubleheader split

Sep 13, 2022, 1:22 AM | Updated: 9:49 pm
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Yonny Chirinos throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the firs...

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Yonny Chirinos throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Pinch-hitter Whit Merrifield drove in two runs with a seventh-inning double, George Springer added a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 Tuesday night to gain a doubleheader split between AL wild card contenders.

Toronto (80-62) is a half-game ahead of the Rays and Seattle (both 79-62) in a race for the three AL wild cards.

The Blue Jays trailed 2-1 before rallying with a four-run seventh against left-hander Colin Poche (4-2). Pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal walked and advanced to third on two wild pitches. Pinch-hitter Danny Jansen drew a one-out walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Bradley Zimmer. Merrifield followed with a double down the third-base line.

“It was a big moment in a big game,” Merrifield said. “It’s nice to contribute, nice to do something positive.”

The double was Merrifield’s first with Toronto and his second extra-base hit in 27 games with the Blue Jays.

Springer homered to reach 20 for the seventh time.

Poche allowed four runs and two hits in one-third of an inning.

“It hurts,” Poche said. “It was a long day. We fought really hard today and we had a good chance to come out of here with two wins, which would be big.It’s tough to kind of give that away.”

Poche hadn’t allowed a run since Aug. 28 at Boston.

“It just kind of got away from him,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s been on a pretty good run for us.”

Teoscar Hernández hit an RBI double off Kevin Herget in the eighth and scored on Matt Chapman’s sacrifice fly. Herget was making his major league debut.

Anthony Bass (4-3) got one out for the win. Adam Cimber retired two batters in the eighth and Jordan Romano got pinch-hitter Yandy Díaz to ground into a forceout with runners at the corners.

Once Toronto stretched its lead to five, Zach Pop wrapped it up in the ninth.

After being scratched from the opener because of a stomach illness, Toronto’s Alek Manoah allowed two runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings in the nightcap. He struck out five and walked two, leaving to a standing ovation.

“I woke up in the middle of the night feeling terrible,” Manoah said. “I actually woke up thinking it was a nightmare and then I couldn’t breathe, chest was tight. Everything just didn’t feel too well.”

Interim manager John Schneider said it was “a great effort” by Manoah.

“He’s firmly cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in the league, in the game,” Schneider said. “What he did tonight was more of the same.”

After staying home to get some extra sleep, Manoah received fluids through an IV after arriving at the ballpark midway through Game 1, and was declared fit to pitch by the team medical staff.

“I kind of have the mentality that my job is not to feel good, my job is to just go out there and compete,” Manoah said.

Ji-Man Choi opened the scoring with a leadoff home run in the third inning, his 10th. Choi’s second-deck drive snapped Tampa Bay’s six-game homerless streak.

Toronto tied it in the sixth when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s swinging bunt.

Jonathan Aranda restored Tampa Bay’s lead when he connected on an 0-1 pitch from Manoah to begin the seventh. It was the first homer of Aranda’s career.

Rays right-hander Yonny Chirinos was added as the 29th man for the doubleheader and started the second game allowing three hits in four-plus shutout innings. Chirinos left after hitting Chapman with a pitch starting the fifth.

In the opener, Tampa Bay left-hander Jeffrey Springs (8-4) pitched six shutout innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions, Randy Arozarena drove in two runs and Díaz had three hits and scored twice as the Rays won 4-2 to snap a three-game losing streak.

With Manoah unavailable, the Blue Jays opened Game 1 with right-hander Julian Merryweather (0-3) before turning to right-hander Mitch White, Toronto’s 29th man. White pitched six innings before being returned to Triple-A Buffalo.


Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe was sent home to Florida to visit team doctors after his sore back flared up, Cash said. Lowe missed 55 games earlier this season because of back pain. … RHP Tyler Gasnow (elbow surgery) allowed one run and one hit in 1 1/3 innings in his second rehab start with Triple-A Durham. Glasnow struck out two and walked two.


Rays: Tampa Bay returned RHP Cooper Criswell to Triple-A Durham and recalled LHP Josh Fleming from the taxi squad.


Before Chirinos threw his first pitch, home plate umpire Dan Merzel brought him a towel from the dugout and asked Chirinos to wipe off his left forearm.

“You can’t put rosin on your glove hand,” Cash explained.


RHP Ross Stripling (7-4, 3.03) starts for Toronto Wednesday night. RHP Drew Rasmussen (10-4, 2.57) goes for the Rays.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands looks on at pit area during first practice sessio...
Associated Press

Verstappen set to win a second straight F1 season title

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc knows it. So does anyone following Formula One; no calculators needed. Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen is set to win his second straight drivers’ title, and it’s likely to come on Sunday with rain predicted for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Friday’s two practice sessions were run in […]
23 hours ago
Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II (25) and linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) celebrate after ...
Associated Press

Colts grind out 12-9 win over Broncos in injury-filled game

DENVER (AP) — Matt Ryan kept the faith through all the sacks, interceptions, fumbles and three-and-outs that made for a streaming snooze-fest Thursday night. “It was just kind of a slog of a game,” the Indianapolis quarterback said after Stephon Gilmore batted away Russell Wilson’s pass to Courtland Sutton in the end zone on fourth-and-1 […]
23 hours ago
Fans of Gimnasia de La Plata choke on tear gas during a local tournament match between Gimnasia de ...
Associated Press

1 dead as police, fans clash outside Argentine soccer match

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — At least one person died while police clashed with soccer fans trying to push into an Argentine league match Thursday night, and the referee stopped the game as clouds of tear gas spread inside the stadium. Authorities and witnesses said fans of the home team, Gimnasia y Esgrima, struggled to […]
23 hours ago
Tom Hoge tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the Shriners Children's Open golf tour...
Associated Press

Tom Hoge rides a pair of eagles to 63, Las Vegas lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tom Hoge wanted to be sure to take advantage of pristine conditions Thursday morning in Las Vegas. He did more than he expected, making two eagles on his way to an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead in the Shriners Children’s Open. One of the eagles came with a gap wedge […]
23 hours ago
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor speaks during a news conference the day before a wild-card baseball...
Associated Press

Star-studded Padres and Mets square off in wild-card round

NEW YORK (AP) — For two teams that finished second fiddle in their divisions, the Padres and Mets bring an awful lot of star power into the playoffs. Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Yu Darvish on the San Diego side. Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor for New York — just to name a […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) throws a pass in the first half of a NFL football game ...
Associated Press

‘Cooper Clutch’ as QB Rush stays perfect for Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Cooper Rush shrugs at what he calls “QB win stats,” seeming to skip the logic that it’s the most important measure of a quarterback. Winning is all Rush has done for the Dallas Cowboys in four games as an injury replacement for Dak Prescott, including three times this season after Prescott […]
23 hours ago
Springer homers, Jays beat Rays 7-2 for doubleheader split