Smyly slyly escapes jams to contain Jays

Left-hander prevents potent Toronto lineup from capitalizing on baserunners

Smyly slyly escapes jams to contain Jays

TORONTO -- Monday night's Rays-Blue Jays contest got lopsided early, eventually turning into a 13-2 Rays win at Rogers Centre.

Had Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly not been able to nip a couple of potential rallies in the bud, the complexion of the game might have been entirely different.

After the Rays' offense handed Smyly a 2-0 lead, the left-hander retired the first two batters he faced in the first. Inexplicably, he then issued consecutive walks to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Justin Smoak to load the bases for Troy Tulowitzki.

"Just lost it," Smyly said. "It's just one of those things. It doesn't happen much. I take pride in throwing a lot of strikes and not walking guys. I don't know if I've ever walked four people in a game in my whole career. But I was just a little out of whack."

Smyly got ahead 0-2 of Tulowitzki, using a fastball-cutter combination. Tulowitzki battled to make the count 2-2 after five pitches before Smyly struck him out swinging on a 92-mph fastball to end the threat.

Smyly's strikes out Tulo

"Huge [strikeout], I just got a 2-0 lead, got two quick outs and walked three straight," Smyly said. "I just wanted to go at him. Not give in right there. I think that was big for our offense as well. To get back into the dugout and increase the lead."

In the fifth, the Blue Jays got runners at the corners with one out after a Darwin Barney single and a double by Josh Donaldson.

Yes, the Rays held an 11-0 lead at the time, but stranger things have happened against the Blue Jays' offense, which has been known to "make it rain" even with the roof closed. Allowing the Blue Jays to string together a few hits is always a dangerous proposition.

Bautista then singled to center to drive home Barney to bring Encarnacion to the plate. But the Blue Jays slugger grounded to Smyly, who threw to second baseman Tim Beckham. The Rays second baseman then successfully completed the relay to first to end the threat.

Smyly induces a double play

"It can snowball quick on you," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Smyly allowed one run on four hits and four walks while striking out six, throwing 101 pitches of which 59 were strikes.

"I was able to battle through and make pitches when I needed to make pitches," Smyly said. "But my pitch count got really high, really quick. I was just happy to get through five."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.