STREET. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jose Siri, Randy Arozaena and Luke Raley homered, and the major league-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night. they slide on the floor.

Tampa Bay (35-14) leads the major leagues with 94 home runs. The Rays opened up a three-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East.

After starter Trevor Kelley pitched two scoreless innings, Josh Fleming (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits in the next six as the Rays improved to 22-4 at home.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt watches as Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., left, doubles during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, May 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesio)

The advertised crowd at Tropicana Field was a season low of 8,857. Tampa Bay began the day with an 18.045 average, 10th in the American League.

Toronto’s Chris Bassitt (5-3) pitched 28 straight scoreless innings before the Rays scored three runs in the second. He allowed six runs, two earned, and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Whit Merrifield and Daulton Varsho homered for the Blue Jays (25-23), who have lost seven of eight and are 9 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay.

Varsho hit a solo home run in the ninth off Zack Littell, who was replaced by Pete Fairbanks with two in and one out. Fairbanks allowed a two-out RBI single to pinch hitter Brandon Belt and loaded the bases on a walk to George Springer before receiving a comeback from Bo Bichette for his fifth save.

Arozarena led off a double in the second and scored with two outs when first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was called for an error after mishandling second baseman Merrifield’s throw from behind the base on Christian Bethancourt’s groundout. Siri followed with a home run to center,

Bassitt’s scoreless streak was the second-longest streak in franchise history, behind Roger Clemens’ 33-inning scoreless streak in 1998. Dave Steib had a 34-inning scoreless streak in 1988-89.

Guerrero made his second error after dropping a Bassitt flip on a hard-hit ball by Wander Franco that the first baseman blocked. Guerrero stayed in the game after Franco stepped on his foot, which was on base.

Isaac Paredes’ two-out RBI single later in the third made it 4–0.

Merrifield cut the deficit to 4-2 on a two-run drive in the fourth inning.

Arozarena went deep in the sixth and Raley added his shot an inning later.


Toronto CF Kevin Kiermaier went 0-for-3 in his first regular season game at Tropicana Field as a road player after spending 10 years with the Rays.

“I have a lot of different emotions,” Kiermaier said. “This is the place that was my home for so many years. Making the trip here today as I have hundreds of times before, very nostalgic.

There was a video tribute to the popular Kiermaier after the first entry. He threw Franco out at the plate on a Brandon Lowe flyout in the fifth inning.


Blue Jays: INF Santiago Espinal (right hamstring inflammation) went on the 10-day disabled list. … Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and reliever Chad Green will have bullpen sessions Tuesday. Both are coming off Tommy John surgery and are expected to return this season.