ST. PETERSBURG -- A healthy dose of the long ball and Jake Odorizzi's pitching led the Rays to a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
"Nice bounce-back win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Yesterday, obviously, was probably a rough night for a lot of guys in the clubhouse. But to come back in, facing a very difficult pitcher who has given us fits in the past, impressed with the way the guys went about it."
Morrison hit his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third off Marco Estrada, and added an RBI double in the sixth. Rasmus had a two-run homer in the sixth and drove home another run in the eighth when he hit into a fielder's choice.
"It's one of those days -- weird outing," Estrada said. "These guys have hit me pretty well lately. It's just I'm not making pitches when I need to. They're hitting the ball well. But I liked the way I felt out there. I liked the way I made pitches most of the game, so I'll just remember that and move on to the next one."
Odorizzi, who was making his second start since coming off the disabled list (left-hamstring strain), came through with a quality start. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out six in seven innings to notch his second win of the season. Estrada allowed five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings en route to his second loss of the season.
Ezequiel Carrera got the Blue Jays on the scoreboard in the first when he homered on a 3-2 pitch from Odorizzi. According to Statcast™, the round-tripper had a 94 mph exit velocity with a 29 degree launch angle. Similar batted balls have had a hit probability of just 22 percent and have gone for homers approximately one out of every 10 times. More >
The American League East rivals will square off in the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lo-Mo goes deep: Morrison put the Rays ahead 2-1 with a two-run homer in the third. The blast traveled 406 feet and had an exit velocity of 101.1 mph with a 31-degree launch angle, thereby earning Lo-Mo's seventh home run of the season "barreled ball" status. Morrison's also homered on Tuesday against the Marlins to give the Rays the lead in a game they eventually won, 3-1 at Miami.
Morrison leads the team in home runs, which is a far cry from his slow start in 2016 when he had no home runs, no RBIs, and hit .104 heading into games of May 7.
"It's just a start, it's not what you've done, it's what you're going to do," Morrison said. "Get ready to go get them tomorrow and hopefully can make a positive influence on the plate tomorrow."
Rasmus' first Rays hit: Rasmus' two-run homer in the sixth gave the veteran slugger his first hit as a member of the Rays. The blast traveled 415 feet and had an exit velocity of 104.8 mph with a 27-degree launch angle. The hit served the Rays well, pushing the lead to 5-1 and essentially putting the game out of reach.
"I don't have a great record and I don't really care, to be honest with you. All I'm worried about is us winning games, so we've got to turn this around soon. I don't care if I get another win, as long as we're winning games. That's all that matters. Records don't reflect on how I'm doing." -- Estrada, who dropped to 1-2 on the season
"Just trying to keep his pitch count down because our bullpen's a little banged up now. And just execute early and then we could expand. And he did exactly that. He threw the ball really well." -- Rayscatcher Derek Norris, on Odorizzi
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Rasmus' home run was his first against the Blue Jays, the team he played for from 2011-14. He has now homered against all 30 teams in his career.
The Blue Jays challenged a play at the plate in the bottom of the eighth after Evan Longoria slid past the glove of Toronto catcher Luke Maile and was ruled safe on Rasmus' fielder's choice. Following a review of 1 minute, 33 seconds, the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays:Joe Biagini will make his first career start to wrap up Toronto's three-game series with the Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field. Biagini, a long-reliever who will get the nod after Mat Latos was designated for assignment on Friday, has a 3.38 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 14 appearances this season.
Rays:Alex Cobb (2-2, 3.86) will make his seventh start of the season when the Rays wrap up their three-game series with the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. He is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. This will be his first 2017 start against the Blue Jays.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.
Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.