Bashing Blue Jays aim to keep raking vs. Rays

MLB

The Blue Jays’ bats are booming, and Toronto will try to keep it that way Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Toronto hit six more home runs Friday night in a 12-4 win over the Rays at Buffalo in the opener of a three-game series.

That gives them 13 homers in two games. They hit seven homers in a 14-11, 10-inning loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, and the bats did not cool off during a day off in the schedule on Thursday.

The Rays had been pretty hot themselves, outscoring the opposition 51-28 during a six-game win streak entering the game Friday. They had swept the Boston Red Sox in a four-game series at Fenway Park before visiting Buffalo.

Toronto’s Bo Bichette is on an eight-game hitting streak, which includes homers in four straight games. He had two hits Friday, including the go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive and get a good pitch to hit,” Bichette said. “I think (as a team) we’re pretty zoned in on the pitch we want to hit.”

Bichette has hits in 12 of his 13 games played this season and is batting .356 (21-for-59) with four doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs. His seven consecutive games with an extra-base hit and an RBI is the longest streak by a shortstop since 1920, when the RBI became an official statistic.

“He’s on fire right now,” said Blue Jays starting pitcher Tanner Roark, who allowed three runs in four innings on Friday. “He’s seeing the ball well, and he’s putting the barrel on the ball. Good luck.”

Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said, “I think we’re watching a star in the making. I love his intensity. To see what he’s doing is awesome. That’s what stars do.”

Teoscar Hernandez had two homers Friday, including a three-run shot, and he leads the team with seven home runs.

Rays left-hander Aaron Loup, a former Blue Jay, gave up homers to Bichette and Hernandez in the five-run sixth. He said it was surprising how well the ball was carrying at Sahlen Field, the Triple-A park of the Buffalo Bisons.

“I’ve played here in the past in Triple-A, and I’ve seen days where you can hit it as hard as you want and it goes nowhere,” Loup said. “And then I’ve seen nights like tonight where it seems like you barely touch it and it goes a mile, so it’s just part of it.”

Toronto right-hander Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season on Saturday after opening the season on the injured list with an oblique strain. He allowed one run, one hit and two walks in three innings on Aug. 8 at Boston. He will face Tampa Bay for the first time in his career.

The Rays will start left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 4.71 ERA), who is 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 career games (three starts) against Toronto.

The Rays and Jays have met four times this season, with each winning twice.

Last season, the Rays won the season series against Toronto for the fourth time in five seasons and the 10th time in 12 seasons.

–Field Level Media

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