- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon called Drew Smyly’s first career complete game “artistic.”

More like a masterpiece.

Smyly pitched a two-hitter and retired the final 19 batters, leading the Rays over the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 on Friday night.

“He had everything going on,” Maddon said. “You could see from the beginning he was going to pitch well all night. It was just obvious.”

Evan Longoria homered, doubled, singled and drove in three runs, and Wil Myers also homered as the Rays began a stretch of 26 straight games against AL East opponents with a comfortable win.

Smyly (8-10) allowed a leadoff single to Jose Reyes, who was promptly erased on a double play. After Steve Tolleson’s two-out single in the third, Smyly didn’t permit another runner. He walked none and struck out four.

“Pretty much the whole game I felt like I was in charge,” Smyly said. “It’s a good mark to reach and a big accomplishment for me.”

Smyly is 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts since being joining the Rays in the July 31 trade that sent David Price to Detroit.

“Smyly was lights out,” Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said.

Marcus Stroman (7-5) was hit hard as the Blue Jays fell to an AL-worst 5-13 in August.

“Overall we played a lousy game,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Kiermaier added three hits for the Rays, who chased Stroman while taking a 7-0 lead in the sixth.

Pitching on six days’ rest after giving up five runs while getting just two outs against the Chicago White Sox last Friday, Stroman was tagged for a career-worst 10 hits. The rookie, winless in four starts, walked three and struck out six.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Stroman said. “I couldn’t keep my team in it today to get a win.”

Longoria opened the scoring with a first-pitch homer to begin the second, Kiermaier made it 2-0 with a two-out double in the fourth and Matt Joyce scored on a throwing error by second baseman Tolleson in the fifth.

The Rays broke it open in sixth, finishing Stroman after an RBI single by Desmond Jennings, the third straight hit to begin the inning. Aaron Loup came on and gave up an RBI single to Ben Zobrist. Joyce reached on a fielder’s choice and Longoria followed with a two-run double.


Myers struck out looking in the second, the fourth straight time he’d been called out on strikes. He was caught looking again in the fifth before connecting in the eighth, snapping an 0-for-8 streak since returning Wednesday from a 70-game absence with a broken right wrist. The homer was his first since May 28, also at Toronto.


Gibbons hinted that the Blue Jays may soon promote RHP Daniel Norris, who began the season at Class A. Norris has gone 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Buffalo, where he’s scheduled to make a fourth start next Tuesday. A second round pick in the 2011 draft, Norris is a combined 12-1 with a 2.20 ERA at three minor league levels this season.


The Rays improved to 34-29 on the road and extended their AL-record streak of road games allowing three or fewer runs to 19. Only the 1908 Chicago Cubs (21 games) had a longer string. Tampa Bay is the only team in the majors this season with a winning record away from home and a losing record overall (63-65).


Rays: C Curt Casali made his fourth straight start as Jose Molina continues to be bothered by a sore left knee. Manager Joe Maddon said Molina will return to the starting lineup Saturday.

Blue Jays: 3B Brett Lawrie (left oblique) is rehabbing his injury in Arizona, but there is no timetable for his return, Gibbons said. “I have no idea, nobody knows,” Gibbons said.


Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-2) faces Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle (11-8) on Saturday. Hellickson is 5-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 career starts against Toronto, six of which came in 2013. Buehrle has won just once in his past 13 outings, going 1-7 in that span after a 10-1 start to the season.

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