ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Former Concordia Lutheran star Shane Baz pitched two-hit ball for five innings to win his major league debut and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays cut Toronto’s lead in the wild-card chase, holding off the Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night.
Tampa Bay holds a seven-game advantage over second-place Boston with 11 games remaining.
The Blue Jays, who scored twice in the ninth inning and left the bases loaded, had their edge over the New York Yankees for the second AL wild-card spot drop to a half-game.
Baz (1-0) gave up a pair of home runs and little else, striking out five and walking none. The righthander recently was one of three Houston-area athletes on Team USA’s baseball team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Toronto got homers from Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Marcus Semien.