Struggling Manoah exits after three shaky innings for Blue Jays vs. Rays

Watch as the Toronto Blue Jays fail to turn a routine double play to end the inning after making two other mistakes earlier in the frame, costing them two runs and their early lead against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Season-long struggles continued for Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hurt by familiar control issues and more shaky defence by his teammates, Manoah exited after throwing 87 pitches in three innings and with his team trailing 5-1. Only 44 of his pitches were for strikes.

The 2022 All-Star gave up four earned runs on five hits while walking five and striking out six. Trevor Richards replaced Manoah in the fourth.

Tampa took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first with the Blue Jays’ defence yet again not playing clean baseball.

Centre-fielder Kevin Kiermaier could not cut off a hard-hit ball by Wander Franco, resulting in a triple. He then scored on a Randy Arozarena single.

Catcher Alejandro Kirk then could not corral a third strike and Brandon Lowe got to first after a challenge. Later in the first, Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio bobbled a potential inning-ending double play ball, resulting in another run.

Tampa cashed in another run in the second and two more in the third — including one after a bad throw by Kirk to third on a stolen-base attempt.

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Manoah appeared to have a bit of a better start last time out (two runs on six hits with just one walk in 5.2 innings against the Baltimore Orioles), but he did not maintain that form.

The right-hander also was working slowly, routinely pitching with the pitch count down to its final seconds.

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Kirk, meanwhile, had his own problems as the Rays stole three bases in Manoah’s three innings.

Manoah’s ERA is up to 5.57 on the season.

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