Kevin Kiermaier’s two-run, walk-off triple with none out in the 10th inning rallied the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Toronto scored a run in the top of the 10th on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s sacrifice fly against Chaz Roe (1-0), but Kiermaier ripped his triple into the right field corner on a 1-0 pitch from Shun Yamaguchi (0-1), scoring Kevan Smith and Jose Martinez as the Rays claimed the rubber match of the three-game series.
Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell threw 46 pitches in a scoreless season debut, allowing three hits, striking out five, walking two and uncorking one wild pitch. He labored through both innings as the Blue Jays left five men on base.
Ji-Man Choi hit his first home run and drove in two, and Brandon Lowe went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.
Toronto starter Thomas Hatch worked one time through the order, facing nine batters, in his big league debut. The rookie right-hander worked 2 1/3 hitless innings, fanned three and walked two.
Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Teoscar Hernandez and Brandon Drury each had two hits. Randal Grichuk (2-for-2, run) left the game in the sixth with an injury after chasing a ground-rule double.
Grichuk opened the sixth with a single, and Hernandez’s double to left was misplayed by Manuel Margot for an error, allowing Grichuk to score and sending Hernandez to third. Danny Jansen’s single made it 2-0.
After Drury and Gurriel singled, Bichette’s lined single to left plated two more for the 4-0 lead.
Normally a left-handed hitter who often takes batting practice from the right side, Choi — batting righty for the first time in a professional game since 2015 — drilled the southpaw Anthony Kay’s first pitch for a solo homer leading off the home sixth. Pinch hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo’s RBI groundout cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh.
The Rays scored twice with two outs and the bases empty in the ninth against closer Ken Giles, who was removed in the middle of facing Choi with the bases full. Choi walked after Brian Moran relieved Giles, and Lowe’s single tied the game at 4-4.
–Field Level Media