The Toronto Blue Jays are probably getting pretty sick of Tropicana Field.
The Jays came in to their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays riding an 11-game winning streak, but since arriving in Florida, Toronto has cooled off quickly. First came the series opener on Monday, which saw Tampa hit back-to-back-to-back homers for just the second time in franchise history on their way to a 4-1 Toronto loss.
Things did not improve today for the visitors. Mark Buehrle had been pitching well coming into the game, but he was outpitched by Tampa’s Matt Moore on this day. While Moore struggled with his command, walking five batters in six innings, Toronto could not capitalize. Strikeouts helped Moore get off the hook, as he tied a career-high with 11 ks.
Buehrle also struggled to find the strike zone, walking a season-high four hitters over five innings. Buehrle was unable to wriggle out of danger as effectively as Moore, and a three-run fourth inning put the Jays in a hole they were unable to climb out of.
The Jays had multiple chances throughout the game, particularly early. Toronto, however, stranded 11 runners and got only one hit, a Maicer Izturis single, in eight at-bats with a runner in scoring position.
The disappointing series is in line with recent history for Toronto. The last time the Jays won a series on the road against Tampa Bay was April of 2007. Since that time, Toronto’s record at Tropicana Field is a ghastly 14-43. Over the last few years, it’s been difficult for them to beat the Rays anywhere. Tampa has taken 19 of their last 26 meetings.
The Jays will now look to get out of Tampa without being swept. The final game of the series comes tomorrow afternoon, as R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Roberto Hernandez.