TORONTO – Bo Bichette fell to her knees and slammed her cane on the ground in anger after a 97.1 mph throw that hit her forearm and nearly headed it on Monday.
However, all those emotions melted away after his next hit, when Bichette hit a two-way homer in the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays overcame the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2.
Bichette joked that his life flashed before his eyes when the ball nearly hit him in the face but added that he really wasn’t thinking about the close-range finish when then back into the batter’s box.
“No revenge,” Bichette said quietly. “Not really worrying about it, just trying to win for the team.”
Bichette also had an RBI single for Toronto (79-61) hours after he was named an American League player. The 24-year-old Bichette hit ,500 (16 for 32) with 11 runs scored, four doubles, one triple, five home runs and 13 runs hit last week when Blue The Jays hit a 5-2 record. Toronto was 8-2 down on that crucial 10-game trip.
Monday’s win was the first of an eight-game home as Toronto hosted the Tampa Bay and the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays’ latest in the American League East.
“I think every game is going to be a big game,” said Toronto interim coach John Schneider. “If you look at who we’re playing, every game gets magnified a little bit, every game becomes important.”
The win put Toronto ahead of the Rays in the AL rankings, joining the Seattle Mariners for the top spot. Baltimore lost to Jays and Mariners 5 1/2 back here.
“Yes, it’s big. We have four games left (against Tampa) so we have to finish a series,” said Bichette. “You have to be on lockdown.”
José Berríos had a quality start, allowing six hits but limiting the Rays to just two runs with four hits. Yimi Garcia, Tim Mayza (7-0), and closer Jordan Romano of Markham, Ont., stepped out of the Blue Jays bullpen. Romano made his 33rd save of the season.
Jonathan Aranda drove in a run in the second inning for Tampa Bay (78-61). Cooper Criswell hit four and allowed a run over two hits and walks more than 3 1/3 rounds with no decision. JT Chargois, Javy Guerra, Colin Poche and Jason Adam (2-3) came on in relief, while Adam succumbed.
Bichette equalized 1-1 in the fourth round when his single scored George Springer from third base. Criswell had a perfect three innings in his second Major League Baseball start game until Springer walked back to base.
Manuel Margot helped the Rays regain the lead in season six. He headed in a hunter pick, giving Randy Arozarena enough time to score to make Tampa 2-1.
After Bichette was thrown off the court at the end of the sixth round, Berríos started the next round by placing a quick ball in the hip of leading Rays Francisco Mejia.
“Obviously I hit the beater but I didn’t want that guy to lean on in that round,” Berríos said. “I don’t know why (the umpire) warned me, but I want to keep playing my game, you know? Try to attack the hitter”.
With two goals in the eighth round, Bichette sealed the score 3-2 from Adam right behind a wall. His 24th home game of the season also scored Raimel Tapia’s goal and made it 3-2.
“It’s going to be a full-length series,” said Schneider. “Obviously it’s a good team, it’s a division and there isn’t a better guy out there than Bo with two losses.
“Every game is big. Every game is important.”
QUIET ON THE HOME FRONT – Rogers Center’s 23,002 audience count on Monday night was the smallest for the Blue Jays since June 30, experiencing 29 home games with a larger attendance.
MATCH – Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah (14-7) will start in the Toronto duo’s first game against the Rays on Tuesday. Schneider says that Mitch White (1-6) will likely be the Blue Jays’ 29th for the two-car and will be the hypothetical starter for the evening’s game. Jeffrey Springs (7-4) will replace Tampa in the first set with the second starter determined.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 12, 2022.
© 2022 Canadian Press