- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons called Friday’s shutout loss to Tampa Bay “a lousy game.”

Unfortunately for Gibbons and his team, it was the latest in a long line of lousy efforts in an August slide that’s threatening to derail Toronto’s once-promising season.

Drew Smyly pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game and retired the final 19 batters, leading the Rays over the struggling Blue Jays 8-0 on Friday night.

“I figured we’d come out there tonight with a little more energy,” Gibbons said. “We didn’t have it and we made some mistakes.”

Toronto is nine games behind Baltimore in the AL East and 4 1/2 games out of the second AL wild card spot.

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

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

Stroman would have needed to be especially sharp to give the Blue Jays any chance against Smyly, who didn’t allow another baserunner after Steve Tolleson’s two-out single in the third.

“We couldn’t get anything going off Smyly,” Gibbons said.

Smyly (8-10) 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.

“He had everything going on,” Rays manager Joe 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.

Kevin 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.

“I’m just in a little bit of a rough stretch here,” Stroman said.

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.


Gibbons hinted that the Blue Jays may soon promote RH Daniel Norris, who began the 2014 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 streak. 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).


3B Brett Lawrie (left oblique) is rehabbing his injury in Arizona, but there is no timetable for his return, manager John 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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