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Berti, Grichuk help Blue Jays rally past Rays, 7-6

September 29, 2018
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Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen, left, and closer Ken Giles celebrate a win over the Tampa Bay Rays during a baseball game Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Three days after he thought his season was over, Jon Berti achieved a milestone in the major leagues.

Berti got his first two RBIs and Randal Grichuk had a pinch-hit, three-run triple to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

The 28-year-old Berti was playing in his second big-league game after eight years in the minors. After finishing his minor league season, the second baseman was at home on Tuesday when he got the call-up. He made his major league debut at home on Wednesday.

“It’s been a wild few days but some good memories so far,” he said. “I was sitting in a parking lot in my car and got the phone call, said I might be coming up the next day. I got home as soon as I could and told my parents.”

His parents came down from Michigan to see him drive in his first two runs with a double in the sixth inning to tie the score 4-4.

″(The Blue Jays) have embraced me, which has eased the anxiety a little bit, just allowing me to play my game,” said Berti, who has played in 789 minor league games. “Anytime you can drive in a few runners to help this team win, it feels good.”

Grichuk’s first triple of the season came in the seventh off Jose Alvarado (1-6) in Toronto’s second straight three-run inning and put the Blue Jays back ahead 7-5.

Adam Moore’s first home run since 2012 drove in the final run for Tampa Bay in the eighth.

Tim Mayza (2-0) got the win after facing only one batter in the sixth, and Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 26th save, converting his 31st straight successful save opportunity.

Mallex Smith tripled and Joey Wendle doubled for the Rays in a three-run first inning against Toronto starter Thomas Pannone. Tommy Pham also walked in the inning, extending his streak of games in which he has reached base to 30.

Smith had three hits and scored twice for the Rays, who lost by one run for the 31st time.

“We just didn’t really that perform well tonight,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It kind of carries in from yesterday (a 12-1 loss to the Yankees) into today. We couldn’t keep them of base.”

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow gave up three runs and seven hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Teoscar Hernandez led off the second inning with his 21st home run, and Rowdy Tellez led off the sixth with his fourth, starting a three-run inning that helped the Blue Jays tie it 4-all.

Pannone pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits with three walks.

HAPPY TO BE HERE

John Gibbons has called Tropicana Field a “house of horrors” but said he is happy that his final series as Blue Jays manager is being played at the domed stadium. “There’s no chance of a rainout or doubleheaders,” Gibbons said. “Perfect temperature.”

Toronto improved to 74-109 all-time on the Rays’ home field.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR

Cash said Thursday’s beanball incident that got New York pitcher C.C. Sabathia ejected is best forgotten. “I’m glad nobody got hurt,” Cash said. “It’s probably a good time for us to send off the Yankees and not play ’em for a while.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: INF prospect Bo Bichette will not play in the Arizona Fall League due to minor knee and elbow soreness. The 20-year old hit .286 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs at Double-A New Hampshire.

Rays: DH Ji-Man Choi (left ear laceration) and 3B Matt Duffy (hamstring) are not likely to play in the season-ending series for precautionary reasons.

Duffy played in 131 games after missing the entire 2017 season recovering from Achilles surgery.

UP NEXT

LHP Blake Snell (21-5) will be attempting to win his 10th straight start for the Rays on Saturday night against LHP Ryan Borucki (4-5). Snell has not lost since July 12, and has a 1.03 earned run average over his nine straight wins.

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