THE Tampa Bay Stingrays solved the mystery of Yusei Kikuchi on Wednesday night, eventually beating the Japanese southpaw en route to a 7-3 victory over the visitors Toronto Blue Jays
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THE Rays were rude hosts to Kikuchi (5-2, 4.56 ERA) on Wednesday, chasing him after five innings after scoring him for five earned runs and eight hits, including a pair of home runs
Kikuchi entered the game with a 4-0 career record and 1.80 ERA against the Raysand was victorious over them in a 5-2 victory in Toronto on April 15
Meanwhile, fellow Tampa Bay ace Shane McClanahan was in full control, allowing just one run, four hits and no walks and striking out seven in seven innings. McClanahan has improved to 8-0 and his ERA to 1.97 this season.
THE Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first set, collecting three singles against Kikuchi, Isaac Paredes’ single double bringing home Wander Franco
Luke Raley started the second by driving a Kikuchi slider 407 feet over the right field wall. A batter later, Jose Siri homered 426 feet into the left center seats for a 3-0 Rays carry out
Toronto’s Bo Bichette doubled McClanahan and scored on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single to make it 3-1 in the top of the fourth. But the Rays got two more in the bottom of the inning when Manuel Margot hat-tricked Christian Bethancourt at home, then scored on Franco’s RBI single for a 5-1 lead
The Jays tightened things up after McClanahan exited after seven innings. Pinched hitter Cavan Biggio met the fastball from reliever Jason Adam’s first pitch with a 422-foot homer to right center. Nathan Lukes then hat-tricked and scored on George Springer’s groundout to cut the lead to 5-3 in the eighth.
Rays manager Kevin Cash called right-hander Kevin Kelly from the bullpen after Adam gave up a single to Bichette and walked Guerrero with the go-ahead at home plate
Kelly escaped, courtesy of a heavily hit helicopter by Matt Chapman that second baseman Taylor Walls turned into a late-inning double play by taking the ball on a short jump, stepping on second and throwing at first.
THE Rays scored a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on RBI singles from Siri and Franco against blue jays reliever Yimi Garcia