Marco Estrada didn’t have proper command of his fastball on Friday night and it cost him.
Michael Perez and Ji-Man Choi each hit home runs off the Jays starter while Blake Snell pitched five innings of perfect ball as the Tampa Bay Rays cruised to a 7-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I don’t think I had good fastball command, basically,” said Estrada. “Trying to think of all the hits I gave up and I think [Kevin] Kiermaier might’ve hit a change-up that Devon [Travis] almost made a play on. The other ones were fastballs and I hung a curveball really bad that [Perez] hit out.
Click on the video player below to watch match highlights:
“I got to have better fastball command, plain and simple. I didn’t locate, I didn’t locate the fastball at all.”
Estrada (5-9) went five and-one-third innings allowing five earned on five hits while striking out six and walking two for Toronto.
Snell (13-5), making just his second start since returning from the disabled list (left shoulder fatigue), struck out six over five innings, but was on a pitch count and pulled from the game in the sixth.
“Everything was really good today,” said Snell. “The velocity on the curveball I was happy with, it had good bite with great arm speed. The fastball was jumping as well today.
“I felt great today but didn’t need to push it with the lead we had.”
The Blue Jays (52-63) have now dropped four of five games while the Rays (59-57) improved to 10-10 since the all-star break and are now 6-1 against Toronto this season.
Toronto also fell to 14-29 this season when the opposition starts a left-hander.
“Big home run, curveball just sat there. The stuff was good early on. They worked [Estrada] good, shot some balls the other way, good job hitting,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
“That was the Snell show there, right out of the gates and then [Jake] Faria came in there and picked up where [Snell] left off. He’s been tough on us in the past too. Tough night.”
Perez got the Rays on the board in the third going deep for a two-run home run, the first of his big league career.
Tampa doubled its lead in the fifth as Willy Adames led off with a double and scored two batters later on a Mallex Smith triple. Smith later scored on a sac-fly from Joey Wendle. Adames finished the night three for three.
Choi made it 5-0 in the sixth putting Estrada’s 2-1 pitch over the wall in right field for his fifth homer of the season.
Estrada entered the start 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA over his previous five outings. Friday was Estrada’s second start against the Rays this season he tossed six scoreless innings in Tampa Bay on May 6, but did not factor into the decision.
With Thomas Pannone making his major league debut in relief of Estrada, the Rays added to its lead as Wendle’s seventh-inning double cashed in a pair of runs. Wendle finished one for three with three RBI in the win.
Pannone surrendered the two runs on three hits while striking out three over one and-two-thirds innings of work.
“He did a nice job, came in, it’s never easy,” said Gibbons. “They put a couple runs up on him, but overall I thought he did a pretty good job.”
Pannone remains an option to start on Monday when the Blue Jays open a four-game series in Kansas City.