Morales has 2 HRs, 5 RBIs to rally Blue Jays over Rays 8-4

Morales has 2 HRs, 5 RBIs to rally Blue Jays over Rays 8-4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kendrys Morales has been a different player at Tampa Bay this season.

Morales had two late homers and drove in five runs, helping the Toronto Blue Jays rally from a three-run deficit to beat the Rays 8-4 on Friday night.

The switch-hitting slugger has three of his six homers and 10 of 20 RBIs this season in five games at Tropicana Field. He hit a two-run shot during the seventh inning and completed his 18th career multihomer game with a three-run drive off Jumbo Diaz (0-2) in a five-run eighth that put Toronto ahead 8-4.

“A couple of big shots that we needed,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We needed a win like that. We were due for something like that.”

Justin Smoak added a solo homer in the decisive eighth and finished with two RBIs for Toronto, which avoided becoming the major league’s first 20-loss team (10-19). The Blue Jays got their sixth win in 17 road games this season.

Aaron Loup (1-0) limited the Rays to one run after Tampa Bay loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh.

Daniel Robertson and Derek Norris each homered for the Rays. Chris Archer struck out 11 in six-plus innings.

“Not a ton to be said other than that is was kind of a tough loss,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Toronto’s Francisco Liriano had his third consecutive subpar outing at Tropicana Field, allowing three runs, five hits, five walks and hitting a batter in 3 2/3 innings.

“I couldn’t find my spots, couldn’t find my rhythm,” Liriano said.

Liriano gave up five runs, three hits and four walks over 1/3 of an inning during a start here April 7, and all three Rays the lefty faced in a relief appearance last Sept. 2 reached base.

Robertson and Norris hit consecutive solo shots before Steven Souza Jr. made it 3-0 later in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk that ended Liriano’s night. Souza, who entered 1 for 15 with eight strikeouts, walked in all three plate appearances against Liriano.

Smoak had an RBI single in the fifth and Morales tied it at 3 on his two-run shot off Archer in the seventh. Morales had two hits in three at-bats against Archer and is 15 for 25 (.600) including three homers off the Rays ace.

“I actually don’t know how I do it,” Morales said through a translator. “I just go out there and stay aggressive.”

Archer gave up three runs, four hits and walked one.

Kevin Pillar had an RBI double in the eighth. After Morales’ shot off Diaz, Smoak homered on the first pitch from Justin Marks, who was making his first appearance this season.

Tampa Bay centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier was hit on the right hand by Liriano’s pitch during the fourth and left after the fifth. X-rays were negative.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Gibbons said RHP Marcus Stroman (right armpit tightness) will make his scheduled start Monday night against Cleveland.

Rays: SS Matt Duffy (left Achilles tendon surgery) had an intensive baserunning session.

PACE OF PLAY

Friday’s game took 3 hours, 32 minutes, making it the ninth consecutive Rays game and the 25th of 31 this year taking three hours or more.

BATTLING BAUTISTA

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista struck out four times and finished 0 for 5. He is hitting .187.

MOVING DAY

Blue Jays: RHP Mat Latos was designated for assignment.

Rays: Marks had his contract purchased from Triple-A Durham.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada (1-1) and Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-1) are Saturday’s starters. Odorizzi will be making his second appearance since missing two starts due to a left hamstring strain.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Mark Didtler, The Associated Press

Just Posted

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

Pellets shot at window of B.C. Transit bus

Bus was travelling near Craigflower and Admirals roads Wednesday morning when window was hit

Announcement for Sooke Road improvement expected this week

Premier promising ‘preliminary’ work, with more on the way

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait seeking re-election

So far, Maja Tait only declared candidate in mayor’s race

Dozens rally outside Premier’s office for sick Sooke boy

Six-year-old Landen Lanthier needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Victoria’s Our Place in desperate need of clothing donations

Downtown service provider feeling pinch from less frequent community clothing drives

Kelowna West byelection called for Feb. 14

Four candidate race to replace departed former B.C. premier Christy Clark

Winds up to 100 km/h expected for Vancouver Island

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide.”

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film Chesapeake Shores in the spring

Bank of Canada hikes interest rate to 1.25%, cites strong economic data

The rate increase is expected to prompt Canada’s large banks to raise their prime lending rates

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

The rival Koreas took major steps toward reducing their bitter animosity

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announces engagement

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Most Read