ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Kevin Kiermaier’s first hit of the season,a two-run triple into the right field corner in the 10th inning, gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Tampa Bay’s defensive whiz delivered the second walkoff hit of his career after the Rays scored twice in the ninth to force extra innings, then fell behind again 5-4 when Blue Jays pinch-runner Santiago Espinal stole third base and scored on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s sacrifice fly off Chaz Roe (1-0).
The Rays began the bottom of the 10th with Kevan Smith on second base. Jose Martinez drew a walk from Shun Yamaguchi before Kiermaier a three-time Gold Glove centre fielder ended an 0-for-11 skid to begin the pandemic-delayed season.
The loss concluded an unsettling week for the displaced Blue Jays, who will not play any home games in Toronto this season after being denied permission by the Canadian government to play at Rogers Centre during the pandemic.
Instead, the team will play a majority of its home dates in Buffalo, New York, in a minor league stadium undergoing improvements.
Bo Bichette’s two-run single was the biggest blow in Toronto’s four-run fourth against Trevor Richards.