Alek Manoah stands out for seven innings in Blue Jays victory

Alek Manoah stands out for seven innings in Blue Jays victory
Alek Manoah stands out for seven innings in Blue Jays victory

(Toronto) Alek Manoah pumped his fist and screamed as he struck out Jonny DeLuca for his seventh strikeout of the game.


Posted at 6:29 p.m.

John Chidley-Hill

The Canadian Press

It was the final pitch of his best start of the season.

Manoah was brilliant for seven innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Sunday.

Manoah (1-1) allowed just one hit and one walk in his best start of the season. He also struck out seven opponents, lowering his earned run average to 3.00.

The right-hander said he was already fired up when his manager, John Schneider, asked him to return to the mound for the seventh inning.

“I told myself I didn’t want to let them down. I was excited, expressed Manoah. The energy from the crowd was incredible and I was trying to feed off that. »

Manoah was selected to the All-Star Game in 2022, a year in which he went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA. He finished third in the American Cy Young Award voting.

In 2023, he was 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA. Some observers thought his adjustment to the pitcher’s clock led to his disappointing season.

“He was working very slowly before the new regulations came in last year,” Schneider explained. I think it took him a while to get used to it. I give him credit for finding a solution. »

Manoah said throwing quickly has become one of his tools.

“The less time I spend on the mound, the more time our offense is at the plate,” he noted. Throwing is like participating in a boxing match. It’s my job to get back to the dugout and send our offense out into the field to continue to tire out our opponents. »

It was Manoah’s first victory since August 4 in Boston. He struggled during the 2023 season and began the 2024 season on the injured list due to shoulder stiffness.

Daniel Vogelbach had three hits, including a home run, and the Blue Jays (20-25) ended a three-game losing streak to avoid the sweep. Alejandro Kirk hit a two-run double and George Springer added a one-run double.

Trevor Richards, Zach Pop and Jordan Romano came on in relief for the Blue Jays. Pop allowed two runs in the ninth inning.

Aaron Civale (2-4) allowed five runs, four earned, six hits and four walks in five and a third innings of work for the Rays (25-23). Manuel Rodriguez and Phil Maton came in relief.

Isaac Paredes hit a two-run long ball for the Rays in the ninth inning.

Vogelbach opened the scoring in the second inning, hitting his first home run of the campaign. It was only the 38e batting appearance this season from the 31-year-old veteran.

“During the season, it takes everyone’s support and you never know when it’s going to be your night to contribute,” Vogelbach said. You put your head down and go to work. If you do it, things will go well. »

Toronto added two runs in the fourth inning.

Springer hit a double against the left-center field fence to allow Vogelbach to cross home plate. Paredes then misplayed a grounder from Isiah Kiner-Falefa, pushing Springer to the plate.

After Civale walked Kirk and reached Kevin Kiermaier to load the bases, Davis Schneider struck out to end the threat.

Kirk redeemed his team in the sixth inning, when his double landed in front of the warning track in left field. Vogerlbach and Springer rounded the third base to give the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead.

After recording two outs in the ninth inning, Pop gave up a single to Jonathan Aranda. Paredes then took advantage of a bullpen control error to catapult the ball over the stands.

Romano came to close the books to sign a seventh save this season.

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