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Sep 23, 2022 11:58 pm

Randy Arozarena (6 RBIs), Rays join Jays atop AL wild-card race

Randy Arozarena homered and drove in a career-high six runs as the Tampa Bay Rays forged a tie for the American League’s top wild-card spot with the Toronto Blue Jays, beating their AL East rivals 10-6 in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday night.

In a 6-6 game in the eighth inning, the Rays’ Taylor Walls — a late scratch due to groin tightness — pinch ran for Ji-Man Choi after a walk. Walls advanced to third on rookie Miles Mastrobuoni’s second single in his major league debut.

David Peralta’s short fly to right led to a poor throw from Teoscar Hernandez, and Walls slid head-first for the game-winning run. Mastrobuoni then scored on Bo Bichette’s two-out fielding error.

Arozarena, who went 2-for-5, drilled a two-run single off the wall for the final margin. The 2021 AL Rookie of the Year joined the 30-stolen base, 20-homer club with a three-run blast.

Tampa Bay starter Jeffrey Springs held a 3-0 lead through four innings but gave up four runs in the fifth. He allowed three earned runs on six hits.

Javy Guerra (1-0) pitched two scoreless and hitless innings.

With 11 games left, the two AL East opponents each sit at 84-67, one-and-a-half games ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the AL wild-card race.

Bichette was 2-for-4 with a walk, run, RBI and a stolen base for Toronto. Raimel Tapia went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

In four frames, Blue Jays starter Mitch White yielded three runs on five hits. Reliever Yimi Garcia (4-5) surrendered four runs (one earned) on three hits in the decisive four-run eighth.

In the first inning, a walk and Wander Franco’s one-out double — stretching his hitting streak to 10 games — led to Arozarena’s RBI fielder’s choice. Manuel Margot’s perfect bunt single, his fifth this season, made it a two-run advantage.

Isaac Paredes and Christian Bethancourt hit deep drives off the wall in the fourth — with the latter’s double plating Paredes for a 3-0 lead.

Toronto’s bats woke up in the fifth, scoring four times against Springs.

Hernandez and Tapia ripped doubles for the first run, and Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. provided RBI singles. Paredes’ throwing error with two outs allowed Bichette to score for a 4-3 Toronto lead.

However, it was short-lived, as Arozarena regained the lead by slicing a three-run shot down the right field line that skipped off the top of the wall and over for his 20th homer.

Toronto’s Danny Jansen (RBI single) and George Springer (sacrifice fly) knotted it at 6 in the sixth.

–Field Level Media

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