The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t have to look back too far to see that a seven-run deficit doesn’t mean certain defeat.
And this time, they were on the right end the comeback effort.
Joey Wendle drove in the tiebreaking run with a bases-loaded groundout in the ninth inning and the Rays battled back from 8-1 down to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-9 on Sunday.
“You think about where our thoughts were in the dugout two hours ago, they weren’t the most positive thoughts,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Give the guys a lot of credit for bouncing back.”
Ji-Man Choi and Guillermo Heredia each hit two-run homers and Willy Adames added a game-tying solo shot in the eighth as the Rays bounced back after blowing a seven-run advantage in Saturday’s 10-9, 12-inning defeat.
“That tells you how much talent we’ve got here,” Adames said. “That means a lot for us and I think that can help us to get on that good rhythm.”
Chaz Roe (1-3) pitched one inning for the win, Oliver Drake got one out in the ninth and Diego Castillo finished for his eighth save in nine opportunities.
Righty Daniel Hudson (6-3) took the loss. After the game, the Blue Jays announced they had traded ace Marcus Stroman and cash to the New York Mets for a pair of pitching prospects.
According to STATS, no team has ever overcome a seven-run deficit one day, then blown a seven-run lead in their next game.
On Saturday, the Blue Jays were down 9-2 after 5½ innings before tying it with a four-run ninth and winning on Teoscar Hernandez’s leadoff homer in the 12th.
This time, Toronto led 8-1 after five but couldn’t hold on. Tampa Bay chased Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez in a three-run sixth, but Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit an RBI double in the bottom half, making it 9-4.
The Rays cut it to 9-6 with two runs in the seventh, then tied it in the eighth on back-to-back home runs from Guillermo Heredia and Willy Adames. Heredia hit a two-run shot, his third, and Adames tied it with his 12th homer and second in two games. Both homers came off Blue Jays right-hander David Phelps.
Tampa Bay’s comeback denied Sanchez his first victory since he beat Oakland on April 27. Sanchez, who has lost 13 consecutive decisions, allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out 10, including six straight to start the game, a Blue Jays’ record.
“I’ve just got to keep building off what I’ve been doing,” Sanchez said. “I’m not quite there yet but I’m definitely making strides to that point.”
Tampa Bay’s Travis d’Arnaud ended Sanchez’s day with a two-run double in the sixth. D’Arnaud has 23 RBIs in 18 July games, extending his team record by a catcher in a calendar month.
The Rays made three trades during the day. They acquired veteran utilityman Eric Sogard from Toronto, sent right-hander Hunter Wood to Cleveland and dealt righty Ian Gibaut to Texas.
ON HIS WAY
Touted infield prospect Bo Bichette is headed to the majors. The son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette was pulled from his game Sunday with Triple-A Buffalo and is expected to join the Blue Jays in Kansas City this week.
Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier started in CF and went 0 for 3 with a walk at Class A Charlotte, his second rehab game. Kiermaier went 1 for 5 with a double as the DH on Saturday. Cash said Kiermaier remains on track to come off the injured list Wednesday. … INF Daniel Robertson (right knee) went 1 for 3 and started at SS in a rehab game with Triple-A Durham on Saturday. It was Robertson’s first game with Durham. … OF Avisail Garcia, who left Saturday’s game because of an illness, was held out of the starting lineup but was available off the bench, Cash said. … RHP Ryne Stanek (right hip) threw a bullpen before the game and will throw one more before making a minor league rehab appearance. Cash said Stanek could rejoin the Rays next weekend. … OF Tommy Pham (sprained right hand) was replaced by Mike Brosseau in the seventh. X-rays were negative and Cash said he hopes Pham will return Tuesday.
Blue Jays: Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said closer Ken Giles, a potential trade chip, was unavailable after pitching Saturday. Giles was on the injured list last month, then missed time again after the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay recalled RHP Jake Faria from Triple-A. He takes the spot of C Michael Perez, who was optioned to Triple-A following Saturday’s game.
Three Blue Jays pitchers have struck out five straight batters to begin a game. The last was right-hander Joe Biagini, who did it against the New York Yankees on May 3, 2017.
Rays: The Rays are off Monday. RHP Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.60) starts Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Boston. Former Rays LHP David Price (7-4, 3.66) starts for the Red Sox.
Blue Jays: LHP Thomas Pannone (2-4, 6.39) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City. RHP Brad Keller (7-9, 3.95) starts for the Royals.
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