TORONTO (AP) Shane McClanahan pitched six effective innings in his fourth straight win, and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided a three-game sweep by topping the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Sunday.
Christian Bethancourt hit a three-run homer as the Rays rebounded from their first two losses of the season. Yandy Díaz reached four times, and Josh Lowe had two hits and three RBIs.
“You never want to leave a series not getting a win,” Lowe said. “For us to do that today and head off to Cincinnati on a good note, that’s good for all of us.”
The Rays have homered at least once in all 16 games this season. Only Seattle (20 games in 2019) has started a season with a longer streak.
McClanahan (4-0) allowed one run and four hits. He struck out six and walked two.
“He got stronger as the outing got deeper,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Really impressed with his work.”
Colin Poche, Garrett Cleavinger and Jason Adam each worked one scoreless inning. Adam closed it out by making a behind-the-back catch on Kevin Kiermaier’s liner and throwing to second to double off Santiago Espinal.
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (1-1) matched career-worsts by allowing seven runs and nine hits. He walked four and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
An All-Star in 2022, Manoah pitched at least five innings in all 32 starts last season, including one in the wild-card round. He has completed the fifth inning just once in four starts this season.
“I need to go out there and start throwing some punches instead of wearing them,” Manoah said.
Manoah hit Díaz with his first pitch of the game and loaded the bases before walking Wander Franco on five pitches. Luke Raley and Taylor Walls struck out but Lowe hit a two-run single to shallow center.
“That was big,” Cash said. “Manoah is such a good pitcher. When you get him out of sync a little bit, you want to be able to capitalize. We wanted to get greedy there and not just get one.”
The first three Blue Jays reached safely against McClanahan in the bottom of the first, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hitting an RBI single, but the left-hander retired the next 11 batters in order.
“After that first batter I felt like I was in control, pretty much, with all my pitches,” McClanahan said, referring to a game-opening walk to George Springer.
Manoah struck out Franco and Raley to begin the fifth but couldn’t finish the inning. Walls walked and stole second, with umpire Lance Barrett’s out call overturned after the Rays challenged.
Lowe hit an RBI double, Vidal Bruján singled and Bethancourt followed with his third homer of the season, driving it out with his back knee touching the ground in the batter’s box.
Rays: Franco was originally in the lineup at shortstop but was moved to DH after complaining of a stiff shoulder. Walls took over at shortstop.
McClanahan predicted Adam would have a lot to say about the game-ending double play.
“We’re never going to hear the end of that,” McClanahan joked. “It was a great play. Maybe a little luck, but you never know. JA is a good athlete. I don’t know. The ball found him, I guess.”
Manoah also gave up nine hits on March 30 at St. Louis. He allowed seven runs at Washington on Aug. 17, 2021.
Rays: LHP Jalen Beeks (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will start for the Rays at Cincinnati on Monday. RHP Hunter Greene (0-0, 5.14 ERA) starts for the Reds.
Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 1.35 ERA) starts Monday as the Blue Jays open a three-game series in Houston. RHP Cristian Javier (1-0, 4.24 ERA) goes for the Astros.
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