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MLB: Rays’ Shane Baz starts career by beating Jays

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Tampa Bay top prospect Shane Baz made his major league debut and outdueled Toronto ace Robbie Ray, and Yandy Diaz swatted a go-ahead, three-run homer as the Rays beat the Blue Jays 6-4 Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Rays (93-58) called up Baz on Monday. The 22-year-old right-hander had stints at Double-A Montgomery, Triple-A Durham and with the U.S. Olympic team this season.

Baseball America’s No. 11 overall prospect, Baz (1-0) allowed two hits — both solo homers — in five innings. He retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced and did not reach a three-ball count. He struck out five.

Diaz (homer, double, three RBIs, two runs) and Kevin Kiermaier (run, stolen base) each went 3-for-4 for the Rays. Joey Wendle hit his 11th homer and scored twice.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Dietrich Enns battled back from a 3-0 count against pinch hitter Breyvic Valera and got him looking for his second save.

The Rays beat Toronto for the 10th time in 17 tries this season and clinched the season series for the fourth straight year.

Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. slugged the solo homers for the Blue Jays (84-66). Marcus Semien had a two-run homer in the ninth, his 41st of the season, for Toronto.

The Rays saw their lead over the New York Yankees (84-67) in the race for the second American League wild card tighten to a half-game.

Facing American League East-leading Tampa Bay for the sixth time this season, Ray (12-6) yielded three runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, with five strikeouts and two walks.

Baz fanned leadoff hitter George Springer swinging on an 87 mph slider, got a grounder from Semien and struck out Triple Crown candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. swinging on a high 99 mph fastball in the first inning.

Hernandez got to Baz’s high 0-1 fastball in the second, lifting a home run — his 29th, and his 107th RBI — near the tank of stingrays in right-center.

Gurriel made it 2-0 with a fifth-inning homer to left off a Baz slider that stayed middle-in. The blast was the left fielder’s 20th this season, tying his career high set in 2019.

After Taylor Walls and Kiermaier singled with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Diaz belted a 1-2 fastball to left-center for his 12th homer and a 3-2 lead. Randy Arozarena’s double two batters later chased Ray.

In the sixth, Kiermaier’s second infield single resulted in third baseman Jake Lamb throwing the ball wide of first baseman Guerrero, sending Wendle across with an unearned run.

Manuel Margot’s RBI single in the seventh and Wendle’s homer into the first row in right in the eighth added insurance runs.

–Field Level Media

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