Published May 03, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - Drew Smyly will make his season debut for Tampa Bay on Friday evening as he gets the start for the Rays in the first of three straight meetings with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Smyly was activated off of the disabled list on Thursday after missing the start of the campaign due to tendinitis in his left pitching shoulder. He draws a favorable assignment as he has not allowed a run in 11 2/3 career innings versus the Blue Jays, spanning four games with one start, for a 1-0 record.
The 25-year-old was acquired from Detroit last season in the trade that sent former Rays ace David Price to the Tigers. Smyly went 3-1 with a 1.70 earned run average in seven starts with Tampa Bay.
First baseman James Loney also was reinstated from the DL on Thursday. He has been out since April 8 with a mild-right oblique strain.
The Rays followed up a four-game slide with consecutive wins over the Boston Red Sox to win the series. They took Thursday's rubber match 2-1 on Rene Rivera's game-winning hit.
Rivera sent a line drive down the third-base line in the ninth inning to plate pinch-runner Tim Beckham.
"It was a big night for Rene. He needed that and we needed that," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I'm sure he's feeling pretty good."
The Blue Jays start R.A. Dickey in this opener and the knuckleballer is seeking his first win of the season.
Dickey is 0-1 with a 3.26 ERA through three starts, including a tough-luck 2-1 setback to the Rays on April 13. He was charged with both runs over six innings, walking five and fanning six. That moved Dickey to 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) against Tampa Bay lifetime.
The 40-year-old righty followed up with a no-decision against Atlanta on Saturday. He allowed four runs over seven innings, walking four and giving up a pair of homers, though the Jays won 6-5.
"Dickey gutted it out for seven innings," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto finished off a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 7-6 win on Thursday. Drew Hutchison carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and the Blue Jays held off a comeback effort in the ninth inning.
Hutchison held the Orioles to two runs and four hits while fanning seven without a walk over eight outstanding innings. He exited with a 7-2 lead that was cut down to a run after Baltimore scored four times in the ninth.
"I felt like I was doing a good job being aggressive in the zone," Hutchison said. "I got a good tempo going, got my fastball going and just keeping ahead of guys, that was the difference."
Josh Donaldson went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for Toronto. He has four home runs and 10 RBI over his past eight games.
Toronto won for the fourth time in five games despite right fielder Jose Bautista sitting out a second game in a row because of a strained right shoulder. Though he may avoid a trip to the DL, Bautista could sit out this series as the Blue Jays begin a 10-game road trip.
The Rays won three of four versus the Blue Jays from April 13-16 in Toronto.