Pinch hitter Austin Meadows leads Rays past Blue Jays

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went yard twice but it was the Rays that came away with an 11-3 victory over the Blue Jays.

TORONTO — Blue Jays rookie shortstop Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., really appreciated it when veteran slugger Kendrys Morales came over to congratulate him in Toronto’s dugout.

Turns out, Morales wasn’t speaking about Gurriel.

Gurriel had a pair of solo home runs in the Blue Jays’ 11-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. His brother Yuli Gurriel, senior by 10 years, had a grand slam and a two-run jack in the Houston Astros 11-3 rout of the Los Angeles Angels.

"He told me ‘hey, congratulations!’ and I just said ‘thank you,’ and I thought it was because I hit two homers, but then he told me that my brother also hit two homers," said the younger Gurriel through a translator. "I’m happy for him but for me as well."

The Gurriel brothers have never played each other professionally, but will get to on Monday when Toronto open their final home series of the season when the Astros come to Rogers Centre.

"I’m very happy but I’m also curious," said Gurriel. "It’s a little bit weird. I’ll see how I’m feeling that day."

The younger Gurriel had a two-run shot in Toronto’s seven-run comeback in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s 9-8 victory over Tampa. His homers on Friday made him the 14th Blue Jay to homer in three consecutive plate appearances and the first rookie to do so.

"I knew when I came back from my injury that sooner or later I was going to start getting the groove back a little bit," said Gurriel, who twisted his left knee on July 31 and was re-activated on Aug. 24. "I didn’t lose confidence at all. I knew I had it in me."

Randal Grichuk hit Toronto’s (70-84) other home run. Starter Sean Reid-Foley (2-4) pitched four-plus innings for the Blue Jays, allowing four runs — two earned — on six hits, striking out five. Jose Fernandez, Mark Leiter Jr., Taylor Guerrieri, Danny Barnes and Jake Petricka came on in relief.

Fernandez and Leiter gave up two runs apiece before Guerrieri allowed three. Reid-Foley walked four, while the bullpen combined to walk four more. Guerrieri and Petricka both struck batters as well.

"We walked too many guys, we didn’t help ourselves out at all, that’s for sure," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "But they hit it. They’ve got good balance, they throw all those lefties at you and if you go lefties they can throw the righties at you."

Pinch hitter Austin Meadows had a pair of RBI singles for Tampa Bay (86-67), while Tommy Pham tripled and drove in two runs and speedy outfielder Mallex Smith doubled in a run and scored twice himself.

Diego Castillo pitched one inning, giving up first Gurriel’s homer, before getting pulled. Normally a reliever, Castillo’s start was part of a starter-by-committee approach the Rays have used all season. Jalen Beeks (5-1) gave up two runs in his three innings of work, but earned the win before Adam Kolarek, Hunter Wood, Austin Pruitt closed the door.

Gurriel hit his first homer in the bottom of the first, putting a single shot to dead centre. He connected on Castillo’s 99.1 mph fastball, the fastest pitch any Blue Jay has hit for a home run this season.

He hit his second home run of the night in the fourth inning, bringing the 21,167 in attendance to their feet. It was his 11th home run of his rookie season.

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