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Mar 28, 2024 7:02 pm

Blue Jays go deep three times while knocking off Rays

blue jays

Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered in Toronto’s five-run sixth inning and the Blue Jays routed the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 on Thursday on Opening Day in St. Petersburg, Fla.

George Springer also went deep, and Bo Bichette was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, a run and a walk. Alejandro Kirk singled in two runs as the Blue Jays were 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

In his second career Opening Day nod, Jose Berrios (1-0) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings. He fanned six and walked one.

Last year’s American League batting champion, the Rays’ Yandy Diaz went 3-for-4 with a homer, double and both RBIs as the home club outhit Toronto 8-7.

Over 5 2/3 innings, Zach Eflin (0-1) surrendered six runs on six hits, including three home runs. He struck out five and walked one.

On his club’s first time in the batter’s box, Diaz lined Berrios’ 2-2 changeup down the left-field line and above the short fence.

Making his first career Opening Day start, Eflin was masterful his first time through Toronto’s order, retiring all nine and fanning five by working the ball around the strike zone.

However, Springer also notched Toronto’s first run this year by long ball, yanking an 80 mph sweeper on the first pitch leading off the top of the fourth. The 392-foot shot to left-center evened it up.

With Berrios and Eflin getting ahead in their counts, the first five innings zoomed along, taking just 65 minutes with five combined hits and neither side putting two runners on base in a frame.

But the Blue Jays were able to put together a pair of good swings in the explosive sixth, going yard twice for a 3-1 lead.

Biggio lined a one-out homer to right that barely made its way to the seats, but Guerrero followed with a monstrous shot to make it 3-1.

The first baseman Eflin’s cutter to straightaway center, mashing a towering, 450-foot shot that landed well beyond the batter’s eye.

Kirk produced a two-run single and Kevin Kiermaier’s single added another as Toronto’s lead grew to 6-1.

Diaz’s RBI double made it 6-2 in the sixth, but Berrios worked out of trouble by getting a hard groundout from Isaac Paredes.

Bichette completed the scoring by slashing a two-run double in the seventh for the six-run lead.

–Field Level Media

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