Starter Ricky Romero had a disastrous fourth inning, headlined by a Brad Hawpe grand slam, as the Tampa Bay Rays beat up on the Toronto Blue Jays 13-1 on Saturday at the Rogers Centre.
For the first three innings of the game, Romero (12-9) looked great, racking up five strikeouts during that span. However, in the fourth, everything fell apart for the young lefty.
The Blue Jays (72-70) starter began the inning by walking Tampa shortstop Jason Bartlett, and then hitting Carl Crawford.
Following that, after striking out Evan Longoria for the first out of the inning, he gave up a double to Ben Zobrist who cashed in the two Rays on base to open up the scoring.
Next, Romero would give up back-to-back walks to Carlos Pena and Sean Rodriguez to load the bases and set the stage for Hawpe who would then make the game 6-0 Tampa Bay (86-55).
Romero would eventually get out of the inning, but not before plunking Kelly Shoppach. He ended up throwing 40 pitches in the inning and was pulled out of the game after it was finally over.
The four innings of work is the shortest outing of the season for the 25-year old whose only highlight of the game was his seven strikeouts.
Jay’s manager Cito Gaston told Rogers Sportsnet after the game that “up until the fourth inning, [Romero] pitched very well.”
Rays’ starter Wade Davis (12-9) was effective for all seven innings that he was in, striking out six while earning the win in the process.
The only blemish on a fine performance by the Tampa hurler was a solo home run by Lyle Overbay in the bottom of the fourth inning that made the game 6-1 Rays.
The positive buzz in the Roger Centre would soon quiet however, because what followed after the fourth inning was a relentless Tampa assault.
In the top of the fifth, Pena smacked an RBI-double to deep centre field on a ball that bounced off of the heel of Vernon Wells’ glove. In the sixth, Crawford would make the score 9-1 with a two-run triple.
Then, in the eighth, the Rays would up the ante to 13-1 after Shoppach connected on a two-run round-tripper that just barely cleared the fence in left field, followed up a Bartlett RBI-triple and a run batted in by pinch hitter Matt Joyce who allowed Bartlett to make it home.
Tampa’s offence was patient, earning seven walks.
For the Blue Birds, other than Overbay’s big fly, the only bright spot for them was a 3-for-4 game by shortstop Yunel Escobar.
The Jays will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday at 1:07 PM ET on Rogers Sportsnet One.