TORONTO (AP) — José Berríos stopped his three-start winless streak, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in three runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays celebrated Canada Day by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 Friday.
Playing at home on Canada’s national holiday for the first time since 2019, and dressed in special red jerseys and caps, the Blue Jays delighted a crowd of 44,445 by winning for the fourth time in five games.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 3 for 3 with a solo home run and also walked. Cavan Biggio was 2 for 2 with two doubles and two walks, and also scored twice.
Seven of Toronto’s 11 hits were for extra bases.
Rays outfielder Brett Phillips pitched the eighth inning for Tampa Bay. Throwing pitches around 65 mph, Phillips retired Guerrero on a groundball to strand Biggio at third following a leadoff double.
“He does a good job. He comes in and throws strikes,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Tampa Bay has lost four straight, matching its longest skid of the season, The Rays have scored nine runs in that span.
“We’ve got to stop the bleeding, no doubt about it,” outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said.
The Rays went 0 for 7 Friday with runners in scoring position.
“We know that’s not going to get it done,” Cash said. “We’ve got to find ways to capitalize when guys get on base.”
After allowing 14 earned runs over his previous two starts, Berríos was better against the Rays. The right-hander gave up two runs and eight hits in five innings to earn his first victory since June 10 at Kansas City.
“Obviously I want a day like this,” Berríos said. “I was able to throw five good innings. I’ll take that into the next one. I want to keep building on top of that and keep building my confidence again.”
Berríos (6-4) is 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA in seven home starts but 2-4 with a 7.92 ERA in nine road starts.
Trent Thornton worked the sixth, former Rays reliever Sergio Romo made his Toronto debut with a scoreless seventh and Max Castillo pitched the final two innings.
René Pinto’s RBI grounder gave the Rays a second-inning lead but Toronto struck back in the third. Bo Bichette and Guerrero hit back-to-back two-run doubles and Alejandro Kirk followed with a two-base hit to score Guerrero as five straight batters reached against right-hander Corey Kluber.
Kluber (3-5) allowed five runs and seven hits in three innings, extending his winless streak to four starts.
Biggio’s one-out double in the third was a drive to left-center that hit off the glove three-time Gold Glove winner Kiermaier, activated after missing eight games because of a sore left hip.
“I thought the ball went in my glove,” a downcast Kiermaier said. “It didn’t. That was a game-changing play, though, and I knew it right then and there.”
Tampa Bay’s Harold Ramírez cut it to 5-2 with an RBI double in the fifth but George Springer hit a two-run single off David McKay in the sixth and Guerrero added an RBI grounder to give the Blue Jays some breathing room.
Gurriel homered off McKay in the seventh.
Rays: Kiermaier went 1 for 2 with a single and walked twice in his return.
Blue Jays: 3B Matt Chapman (rest) was held out of the starting lineup but came on defensively in the ninth.
Tampa Bay optioned OF Luke Raley and LH Ryan Yarbrough to Triple-A Durham and recalled McKay from the taxi squad.
Fans joined together in an impromptu rendition of O Canada as the Rays batted in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays honored Canadian-born catcher Russell Martin with a pregame ceremony, including a video featuring tributes from former teammate José Bautista and former manager John Gibbons. Martin threw out the first pitch to Blue Jays rookie catcher Gabriel Moreno, who wears jersey number 55, Martin’s old number, as a nod to the four-time All-Star.
The Rays and Blue Jays play a doubleheader Saturday, one of two they’ll play in Toronto this season to make up for April games canceled by the lockout. LHP Shane McClanahan (8-3, 1.77) will start Game 1 for Tampa Bay, with RH Drew Rasmussen (5-3, 3.41) expected to be activated off the IL to start Game 2. RH Kevin Gausman (6-6, 2.93) will start Game 1 for Toronto Saturday, while RH Thomas Hatch (4-4, 5.12 at Triple-A Buffalo) is expected to be added to the roster to start Game 2.
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