Rays 4 Blue Jays 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ryne Stanek is set for a new role in the Tampa Bay rotation — sort of.
The reliever will likely now start two out of every five games in the Rays’ ongoing bullpen-day experiment.
Wilson Ramos homered, six Tampa Bay relievers combined for a five-hitter and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 on Tuesday night.
With right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Faria on the disabled list, Tampa Bay is using relievers to start three times through the rotation.
Stanek opened the game, striking out three in two perfect innings, and was followed by Austin Pruitt (2 2/3 innings), Jonny Venters (one-third of an inning), Chaz Roe (1 1/3 innings), Jose Alvarado (1 2/3 innings) and Sergio Romo (one inning).
“We won, so it’s a pretty good day,” Stanek said. “It’s like anything, the more you do something, the more comfortable you’re going to be. It’s definitely starting to become a little more normal. It’s not really coming like a surprise.”
It was Stanek’s fourth start.
“Stanek set the tone,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The big story of the game was the bullpen, how they pieced it together.”
Pruitt (2-3) allowed four hits and a run but picked up the win. Romo allowed the other hit but locked down his second save.
“It’s always fun seeing guys come in behind you and get the job done,” Pruitt said.
Tampa Bay has won three of four following an eight-game skid.
Ramos put the Rays up 2-0 with his two-run drive off Jaime Garcia (2-5) in the third.
Garcia gave up four runs, four hits, four walks and struck out four in five-plus innings. The left-hander is 1-4 in seven road starts, allowing 28 earned runs over 31 1/3 innings.
“I competed and tried to make pitches,” Garcia said. “There’s a couple of walks there that I’ve got to do a better there.”
Garcia departed after C.J Cron walked and went to third on Willy Adames’ double to start the sixth. Pinch-hitter Joey Wendle and Mallex Smith both had run-scoring singles off Joe Biagini that made it 4-1.
Toronto had runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth but scored just once on Devon Travis’ grounder off Pruitt.
“We had a chance to tie it, and then who knows?” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays have been held to one run or fewer 11 times.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) remains day to day. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will make a rehab start Wednesday night with Class A Dunedin.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb torn ligament) went 2 for 4 with a walk in his first minor league rehab game with Class A Charlotte and hopes to be back June 22. … OF Johnny Field (sore knee) was available off the bench.
HOUSE OF HORRORS
The Blue Jays have dropped the first two games in the three-game set and are 73-105 at Tropicana Field. It’s the most losses at any road ballpark since 1998, the Rays’ inaugural season. “They’ve always held us in check down here,” Gibbons said. “I don’t care what the roster is, I don’t care what team is here. It’s always kind of been that way.”
REACHING A DECADE
Romo reached 10 years of major league service time Monday and was given a postgame celebration by his teammates. “A pretty awesome day,” Romo said.
Tampa Bay RHP Wilmer Font (0-1) will start another bullpen game Wednesday against Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (8-3).