Francisco Mejia had a two-run homer in the second inning and a solo shot in the fifth to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to an 11-5 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader.
Isaac Paredes and Wander Franco both hit solo home runs as the Rays won the first game 6-2.
Paredes stayed hot in the evening, hitting a three-run homer and adding an RBI double as Tampa (42-36) won back-to-back games.
Starter Drew Rasmussen allowed two runs – one earned – on five hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. Reliever Dusten Knight allowed three runs over 2 1/3 innings and Ralph Garza Jr. earned the win, pitching scoreless ball the rest of the way.
Bradley Zimmer had a two-run homer for Toronto (44-35) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added a solo bomb.
Thomas Hatch (0-1) coughed up 10 runs on 12 hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. Matt Gage, Sergio Romo, Tim Mayza and Adam Cimber came on in relief, with Gage allowing a run.
The Blue Jays lost more than just the two games. Starter Kevin Gausman left the first loss after two innings when he was hit by a comebacker. His X-rays came back negative and Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said the pitcher had a right ankle contusion.
“Just like everybody else, I was hoping that it wasn’t anything worse than a contusion and that’s what had happened and that’s good news,” said Montoyo. “And then (I thought about) who was going to cover the game.”
Toronto had a rough start to the evening game. Right-fielder Teoscar Hernandez seemingly gunned down Rays leadoff man Yandy Diaz at second base in the game’s first at-bat. However, a video review by officials found that Diaz had narrowly avoided the tag for a double.
Hatch then walked Franco and hit Harold Ramirez with a pitch to load the bases. Ji-Man Choi grounded into a double-play to score Diaz and advance Franco for a 1-0 Rays’ lead.
Mejia took Hatch to deep right field in the second inning, scoring Paredes with his fourth home run of the season.
The Blue Jays made some sharp baserunning plays in the bottom of the second to cut into Tampa’s lead.
Raimel Tapia laid down a bunt to advance Alejandro Kirk and Teoscar Hernandez to third and second respectively. Then Matt Chapman hit a sac fly to deep right field to score Kirk to make it 3-1.
Hatch again loaded the bases in the third inning, with the Rays taking full advantage.
Randy Arozarena grounded into a double-play that scored Wander Franco from third. Then Parades doubled to score Ramirez and Taylor Walls singled to bring home Parades for a 6-1 Tampa lead.
Paredes did more damage in the fifth, launching a three-run shot 356 feet to the second deck at Rogers Centre. The 24,180 in attendance booing as he rounded the bases behind Ramirez and Arozarena.
Two batters later, Mejia hit his second home run of the game, fifth of the season. It was only the second two-homer game of his career.
Rasmussen’s pitch high and inside on Cavan Biggio forced the Blue Jays infielder to take a step back from the plate as Mejia chased the ball into the backstop. Tapia sprinted home on the passed ball, cutting Tampa’s lead to 10-2.
The runs kept coming for the Rays in the sixth, with Ramirez hitting a double down the third-base line to score Diaz.
Guerrero smashed his 19th home run of the season into left field, just short of the second deck. He sent the second pitch he saw from Knight 383 feet.
Zimmer helped the Blue Jays continue to close the gap in the next inning, hitting a change-up from Knight to deep right field, cashing in Santiago Espinal to make it 11-5.
EXTRA HELP – Lawrence was recalled from triple-A as the 27th man for both games of the doubleheader. The spare player is permitted by Major League Baseball for doubleheaders. Relief pitcher Max Castillo was sent down to triple-A between games to make space for Hatch on Toronto’s roster.
PIRATES TRADE – The Blue Jays announced a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda during the first game of the doubleheader. Toronto sent cash considerations to Pittsburgh in return. Righty Julian Merryweather was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
UP NEXT – Ross Stripling (4-2) will start for Toronto in the finale of the rare five-game series against Tampa Bay. Shane Baz (0-1) will take the mound for the Rays.