BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Teoscar Hernández hit two of Toronto’s six home runs, Bo Bichette connected for the fourth straight game and the Blue Jays kept knocking balls out of their new Buffalo park, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 12-4 Friday night.
Along with their seven homers in a 14-11 loss to Miami on Wednesday night at Sahlen Field, Toronto became the fourth team in major league history to hit at least six homers in back-to-back games. The Blue Jays joined the Dodgers (1996), Angels (2003) and Washington (2012).
Randal Grichuk hit a tying homer in the sixth, Bichette added a three-run drive and Hernández connected to cap the five-run inning that made it 8-4.
“They got themselves in hitters’ counts, and they made us pay for it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “(In) the sixth inning, we hit for 30 minutes and got one run. They hit for four minutes and got five. It’s tough to combat that.”
Rowdy Tellez and Cavan Biggio also homered for the Blue Jays. In three games so far at the home of their Triple-A affiliate, they have scored 25 of their 28 runs on long balls, including 22 of their last 23.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo doesn’t believe that his team is relying too much on the home run.
“We did get on base,” Montoyo said. ”Then we get the three-run homers and the two-run homers. Any good team has to get on base.”
In addition to suiting the talent of Toronto hitters, the Buffalo park is a little tighter down the lines than Rogers Centre in Toronto. On the American side, it’s 325 feet to the corners, 371 to left-center, 367 to right-center and 404 to straightaway center field.
“For me, it’s not different,” Hernandez said. “We’re just enjoying our game. I’m just trying to hit the ball.”
“I’ve seen days where you can hit it as hard as you want and it goes nowhere, and then nights like this where you barely touch it and it goes a mile,” said Aaron Loup, who gave up two of the sixth-inning homers. “A couple of bad pitches cost me. It was a pivotal point of the game.”
Brandon Lowe homered and drove in three runs for Tampa Bay, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. Lowe has an extra-base hit in six straight games and has homered in three straight games. He’s also gone long in four of the five games he’s played in Buffalo, having hit homers in three of four games played with the Triple-A Durham Bulls in 2018.
Toronto has scored 10 or more runs in two straight games for the first time since June 2016, when it put up 13 in back-to-back games at Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Bichette, meanwhile, is only the third player in MLB history with 38 extra-base hits in his first 59 games, joining Joe DiMaggio (46) and Cody Bellinger (38). In addition, his streak of seven games with an extra-base hit and an RBI is the longest streak by a shortstop since 1920, when RBI became an official stat.
Toronto reliever Wilmer Font (1-1) faced one batter, inducing a double-play grounder in the top of the sixth, to earn the win. Ryan Thompson (1-1) took the loss.
Rays: RHP Yonny Chirinos is expected to come off the IL on Sunday to start against Toronto. Cash said that Chirinos felt good coming off a side session as he heals from triceps inflammation. Cash also said that Charlie Morton, who left Sunday’s game against the Yankees after two innings, will have a bullpen session in the next couple of days but would not commit to having him active when eligible to come off the IL on Aug. 20.
Blue Jays: All three players on the IL are nearing a return, though Montoyo did not have a timetable for any of them. Closer Ken Giles had a clear MRI for his strained forearm and played catch Friday, pitcher Trent Thornton had a bullpen session, and outfielder Derek Fisher ran bases yesterday. All three were described to be “feeling good.”
Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 4.71) will start Saturday night against Toronto in the middle game of the three-game series.
Blue Jays: RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00) will make his second start on Saturday night. He allowed one hit and two walks in a three-inning start at Boston on Aug. 8.
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