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Rays Start 9 Latin American Position Players, Rout Jays 11-0


By IAN HARRISON, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run and the Tampa Bay Rays — starting an unprecedented nine Latin American position players on Roberto Clemente Day — routed Toronto 11-0 on Thursday to pull within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase.

Clemente, the late Hall of Fame outfielder from Puerto Rico, was a two-time World Series winner and NL MVP who played 18 seasons with Pittsburgh. The Blue Jay nine starting position players came from five countries: Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

Shane McClanahan returned from the injured list to pitch five shutout innings

Isaac Paredes hit a solo home run and added an RBI single as the Rays (80-63) won the fifth and final game of the series. Toronto (81-63) will play a four-game series at Tampa Bay, starting next Thursday.

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Seattle (80-62), which holds one of the three AL wild-card spots, was idle Thursday, but moved percentage points ahead of Toronto.

Díaz homered in a four-run second inning, his ninth. Paredes made it 5-0 with a leadoff blast in the seventh, his 19th

Randy Arozarena had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth, and Manuel Margot added a three-run double later in the six-run frame as Tampa Bay piled on against right-handers Trevor Richards and David Phelps.

Activated off the injured list after missing 15 games because of a left shoulder impingement, McClanahan (12-5) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one. The left-hander pitched around a pair of singles in the first inning, then retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 2.13.

JT Chargois got two outs in the sixth, Jason Adam worked 1 1/3 innings, Javy Guerra pitched the eighth and Kevin Herget finished the six-hitter.

Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman (12-10) allowed five runs and six hits in seven innings, snapping a streak of four straight winning decisions. Gausman struck out seven and walked one.

After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette hit back-to-back singles in the first, the pair executed a double steal. McClanahan escaped by striking out Matt Chapman and getting Teoscar Hernández to fly out.

Bichette doubled off JT Chargois in the sixth and advanced on Chapman’s infield single but Hernández struck out before Adam came on to strike out pinch hitter Cavan Biggio.

All nine Rays starters, as well as bases coaches Chris Prieto and Rodney Linares, wore No. 21 to honor Clemente. Bichette, right-hander José Berríos, outfielder George Springer and third base coach Luis Rivera wore No. 21 for Toronto.

Two fans from Toronto’s Korean community gave some treats to Rays slugger Ji-Man Choi during batting practice, including one labelled Choco Pie. Choi returned the favor with some signed baseballs.

Tampa Bay optioned LHP Josh Fleming to Triple-A Durham to clear a roster spot for McClanahan.

Rays: RHP Shane Baz (right elbow) has started throwing on flat ground but will not return this season, manager Kevin Cash said.

Blue Jays: C Alejandro Kirk (left hip) was not available. Kirk did not play Wednesday.

Rays: RHP Corey Kluber (10-8, 4.36 ERA) starts Friday as the Rays return home to host Texas. LHP Martín Pérez (11-6, 2.77 ERA) goes for the Rangers.

Blue Jays: Toronto has not named a starter for Friday’s home game against Baltimore. RHP Jordan Lyles (10-10, 4.62 ERA) starts for the Orioles.

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