TORONTO — Marcus Stroman and Jose Bautista say the Toronto Blue Jays haven't changed. They just need to take their games a day at a time.
Stroman gave up seven earned runs and 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first loss of the season as the Blue Jays fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2.
"The confidence has remained the same throughout the group, we're just struggling right now," said Stroman. "We're aware of that but we're doing everything we can just to take it day by day, do everything we can to better ourselves on the daily and just take that into the game.
"I have a feeling the tides will turn soon."
Bautista's two-run home run was the height of Toronto's offence as the Blue Jays (19-22) lost for the fourth time in a row. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up three unearned runs. Drew Storen gave up two runs in the ninth.
Toronto was outhit 16-5. The Blue Jays have been outscored 25-4 in the past two games, both lopsided losses to the visiting Rays.
"We just have to continue to have good at-bats, to get men on base, then figure out a way to drive them in," said Bautista. "It's been a tough two days, pretty ugly.
"We've got to continue moving forward with that mentality, try to flush it out of our system, get a win tomorrow, go on the road and have a good road trip."
Toronto finishes their three-game set with Tampa on Wednesday, then take a seven-game trip with stops in Minnesota and New York to play the Yankees.
Shortstop Brad Miller had three hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs for Tampa Bay (18-19). Tyler Motter hit his first career home run in his second game in Major League Baseball.
Chris Archer (3-4) struck out seven and allowed two runs on four hits over six innings, then Enny Romero, Ryan Webb and Dana Eveland pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the Rays.
Steve Pearce's RBI double gave the Rays an early lead in the first. Bautista replied for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the inning, blasting a two-run shot to centre field and cashing in Michael Saunders for a 2-1 lead. It was a short-lived advantage, however.
An extended rally in the second inning gave Tampa the lead for good, making it 4-2. Logan Morrison added to that lead in the third inning, hitting into a fielder's choice to score Steven Souza Jr.
The fifth inning saw Morrison hurt the Blue Jays again. He singled to right field to bring Pearce home. Kevin Kiermaier made it 7-2 with an RBI single in the next at-bat.
A series of defensive miscues by Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson in the top of the seventh inning led to more Rays runs. He expected a soft single by Kiermaier to roll foul, but instead it stayed fair. Donaldson was then charged with a fielding error, allowing Curt Casali to reach first and advance Kiermaier to second. In the next at-bat Donaldson got another error, letting Kiermaier score, Casali move to second and Guyer to reach first.
Miller then hit a double to score Casali and Guyer and give Tampa a commanding 10-2 lead. All three runs scored in the seventh were unearned.
"The clubhouse hasn't changed one bit since the very beginning," said Stroman. "We're fine. We know what we're capable of and hopefully we get things rolling here."
Motter, appearing in his second game for the Rays since getting called up from the minors, hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning, bringing Tampa's lead up to 12-2.
Toronto was without manager John Gibbons as he served the first game of his three-game suspension for his role in the Blue Jays brawl with the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale served as manager in his absence. First base coach Tim Leiper was suspended a game for the same incident, with assistant hitting coach Eric Owens taking over for him. A total of 14 players and staff from the Blue Jays and Rangers organizations were punished for the brawl with either fines or suspensions.
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