Instant Reaction: Justin Turner had his best game as a Blue Jay, as Toronto defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 for a series split

At the end of the day, a series split at Tropicana Field isn’t the worst outcome.

On Sunday afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2, bringing their season record to 2-2 and splitting their opening series.

In reality, this was the Justin Turner game, as he drove in a run in the first inning with this single, with Alejandro Kirk driving in a run later in the inning. This gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead early in the game, and they never looked back.

The Rays, however, did pick up a run in the bottom of the first, as Randy Arozarena hit his second home run of the season to give the Rays their only run of the game.

In the top of the second, the Blue Jays loaded the bases with Turner up at the plate. As one could imagine, Turner punished the American League East rival, as he hit a two-run double to give the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead, with Turner responsible for three of them.

Turner added another run for the Jays in the top of the fifth, as he hit his first career Blue Jays home run to left field. If you’re counting along, that was his fourth RBI of the game. While he would fall shy of the cycle, Turner later reached in his next plate appearance with a walk.

Davis “Babe” Schneider made an appearance for the first time this season on Sunday, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact. On a 1-2 count, Schneider turned on a pitch and sent it to the stands for his first home run of the season.

Former Blue Jay Jacob Waguespack pitched for the first time in the big leagues since 2020. Sadly, it didn’t go great for him, as two runs were scored while he was on the mound, including Cavan Biggio driving in Toronto’s ninth run of the game.

Things worth mentioning…

Ernie Clement should be an everyday player. His 1-5 day doesn’t tell the whole story, as he narrowly missed his first home run of the season. Clement also made this terrific Derek Jeter-esque jump throw to get an out.

Kevin Gausman made his season debut, finishing with a line of 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K with a home run given up. On top of the good line, Gausman also picked up a game-high 12 whiffs and touched 97.6 mph, the fastest pitch of the game.

Mitch White had a good first appearance, finishing with a line of 3 IP, 0 H, 0 E, 1 BB, 0 K. White only had three whiffs on 26 total swings, but he generated enough weak contact that it didn’t matter. Interestingly, the fastball velocity was down to 93.7 mph, which is a bit of a shock considering he was averaging around 95-96 mph in Spring Training. However, Nate Pearson also averaged a tick under 96 mph, so it may have just been cold or something.

Up next: The Blue Jays head to Houston for a three-game series against the Astros starting Monday. Bowden Francis will get the ball in the first game, which is set to take place at 8:10 PM ET.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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Title: Instant Reaction: Justin Turner had his best game as a Blue Jay, as Toronto defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 for a series split
Author: Brennan Delaney

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