Anthony Kay had eight strikeouts in his Major League debut on Saturday evening, but didn’t receive enough run support as the Toronto Blue Jays fell to the host Tampa Bay Rays 5-3.
Kay (0-0) received a no-decision after a strong outing, allowing four hits and two runs in 5.2 innings. The eight strikeouts tied a Jays franchise record in a big-league debut first established by Trent Thornton on March 31.
The 24-year-old Kay, obtained by the club as part of July 28 a deadline trade with the Mets for pitcher Marcus Stroman, held the Rays scoreless through the first three innings, allowing just one single.
Tampa got to the rookie in the fourth, scoring two runs in what was a 28-pitch inning.
Toronto (55-88) has now dropped six straight games and eight of its last 10. Jonathan Davis went 2-for-4 including an RBI single.
Jordan Romano (0-2) picks up with the loss for the Jays.
Nick Anderson (3-0) earned the win for Tampa after allowing one hit and striking out one in his lone inning on the mound, while Charlie Morton allowed five hits and three runs in six innings while striking out 10 as the starter.
The Rays first got on the board in the fourth with an Austin Meadows RBI single that brought Avisail Garcia in to score. William Adames was walked with the bases loaded later in the frame, bringing in Tommy Pham to make it 2-0.
Jays got their bats working in the sixth, as a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. double acted as the catalyst for three consecutive runs with the bases loaded.
Reese McGuire and Davis hit singles to allow Rowdy Tellez and Guerrero Jr. to reach home, and then Billy McKinney’s sacrifice fly brought in Justin Smoak to put them up 3-2.
Daniel Robertson hit an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game up, and then after a Travis d’Arnaud sac fly made it 4-3, another Robertson RBI (single) extended the lead to two in the bottom of the eighth, sealing the game for the Rays.
The four-game series will wrap up Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Notes: Kay made his MLB debut after going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings (seven starts) in Triple-A Buffalo … Catcher Beau Taylor was designated for assignment to make room for Kay in tonight’s game. Right-handed pitcher Zack Godley cleared waivers and was assigned to the Bisons.