Austin Meadows and Brandon Lowe made home run history at Toronto with a pair of nearly identical blasts.
Meadows and Lowe each hit two homers, becoming the first teammates to hit upper-deck shots at Rogers Centre in the same game, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Blue Jays 11-7 on Friday night.
According to MLB, both upper-level drives measured 436 feet.
“I felt like that’s about as far as I can hit it, honestly,” Meadows said.
Both long balls landed in the first few rows of the fifth deck in right.
“They were fighting over which one went further, which was pretty entertaining,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Neither Lowe nor Meadows seemed likely to lose any sleep over which ball went farther.
“I think we’ll be pretty happy with 436 for both of us,” Lowe said. “I’m sure neither of us will be upset.”
Meadows has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. He and Avisaíl García each had three hits as the Rays finished with a season-high 16.
“We’ve got a lot of guys doing good things,” Cash said. “Austin is right at the top of the list. He’s really locked in.”
The Rays won their fifth straight. It’s the second time this season first-place Tampa Bay has won five in a row.
Toronto trailed 8-0 before putting the tying run at third base in the eighth inning. Facing Luke Maile with the bases loaded, Tampa Bay’s Diego Castillo fell behind 3-0 but responded with three straight strikes, catching Maile looking to end the threat.
“All I was thinking was, ‘Just throw it in the strike zone. If he hits it, he hits it,'” Castillo said through a translator.
Willy Adames gave the Rays some breathing room with a two-run homer off Javy Guerra in a three-run ninth.
Meadows and Lowe became the 17th and 18th players to reach the 500 level of seating at Rogers Centre, which opened in 1989. Their shots came four batters apart in a four-run third. They were the 21st and 22nd homers to reach the stadium’s upper deck.
No one homered into the 500 level in Toronto last season. The most recent player to do it was Josh Donalsdon, who connected off Cincinnati’s Asher Wojciechowski on May 30, 2017.
Meadows led off the game with a homer to right, then opened the third with his upper-deck blast. Meadows’ homers were his fifth and sixth.
After his upper-deck drive in the third, Lowe barely cleared the outfield fence with his second homer, a line drive off Elvis Luciano in the seventh.
It was the first multihomer game of each player’s career.
Tampa Bay’s Tommy Pham reached base safely for the 46th straight game, extending his team record streak, with an RBI single in the sixth.
Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough (2-1) each pitched two perfect innings before Yonny Chrinos walked Randal Grichuk to begin the fifth.
The Blue Jays cut the gap with a six-run seventh against Chirinos, whose night ended on a two-run homer by former Rays catcher Maile.
Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton (0-1) allowed five runs and eight hits in three-plus innings, his first loss in three career starts.
“They hit a lot of balls hard and I suffered from that,” Thornton said.
Rays: INF Joey Wendle (left hamstring) could rejoin the team next weekend.
Blue Jays: RHP Ryan Tepera (right elbow) pitched one scoreless inning for Triple-A Buffalo, his first rehab outing. GM Ross Atkins said Tepera could be activated as soon as Sunday. … LHP Ryan Borucki (left elbow) will be shut down for two weeks after experiencing pain during a throwing session April 3. Borucki received a cortisone shot Friday. … OF Dalton Pompey (concussion) will be evaluated Saturday. Pompey was injured during spring training when he bumped his head on a bat wedged into his locker. … RHP David Phelps (elbow surgery) is expected to begin throwing bullpen sessions next week. Phelps missed the 2018 season. … LHP Clayton Richard (right knee) will resume playing catch this weekend.
Meadows’ first-inning shot marked the seventh straight game that Tampa Bay has scored in the opening inning, a team record. The Rays have outscored opponents 18-1 in the first this season.
BETTER TO GIVE
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo arrived in his office Friday to find Rays promotional items, including bobblehead dolls and T-shirts, all over his desk and stuffed into his locker. The “gifts” were from Cash, Montoyo’s former colleague in Tampa Bay. Montoyo said he planned to return the favor Saturday.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (2-1, 2.84 ERA) starts Saturday. Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner went 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA with 27 strikeouts in three starts against Toronto in 2018.
Blue Jays: RHP Clay Buchholz will make his Toronto debut after missing the start of the season because of a sore elbow. Buchholz went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts for Arizona last season.
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