AMERICAN LEAGUE: Rays 4, Blue Jays 1
Ryne Stanek is set for a new role in the Tampa Bay rotation — sort of.
The reliever will likely now start two out of every five games in the Rays’ ongoing bullpen-day experiment.
Wilson Ramos homered, six Tampa Bay relievers combined for a five-hitter and the Rays beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
With right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Faria on the disabled list, Tampa Bay is using relievers to start three times through the rotation.
Stanek opened the game, striking out three in two perfect innings, and was followed by Austin Pruitt (2⅔ innings), Jonny Venters (one-third of an inning), Chaz Roe (1⅓ innings), Jose Alvarado (1⅔ innings) and Sergio Romo (one inning).
“We won, so it’s a pretty good day,” Stanek said. “It’s like anything, the more you do something, the more comfortable you’re going to be. It’s definitely starting to become a little more normal. It’s not really coming like a surprise.”
It was Stanek’s fourth start.
“Stanek set the tone,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The big story of the game was the bullpen, how they pieced it together.”
Pruitt (2-3) allowed four hits and a run but picked up the win. Romo allowed the other hit but locked down his second save.
“It’s always fun seeing guys come in behind you and get the job done,” Pruitt said.
Tampa Bay has won three of four following an eight-game skid.
Ramos put the Rays up 2-0 with his two-run drive off Jaime Garcia (2-5) in the third.
Garcia gave up four runs, four hits, four walks and struck out four in five-plus innings. The left-hander is 1-4 in seven road starts, allowing 28 earned runs over 31 ⅓ innings.
“I competed and tried to make pitches,” Garcia said. “There’s a couple of walks there that I’ve got to do a better there.”
Garcia departed after C.J Cron walked and went to third on Willy Adames’ double to start the sixth. Pinch-hitter Joey Wendle and Mallex Smith both had run-scoring singles off Joe Biagini that made it 4-1.
Toronto had runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth but scored just once on Devon Travis’ grounder off Pruitt.
“We had a chance to tie it, and then who knows?” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays have been held to one run or fewer 11 times.
NATIONAL LEAGUE: Padres 4, Cardinals 2
Eric Hosmer homered, San Diego’s bullpen took a perfect game into the sixth inning and the visiting Padres beat the St. Louis Cardinals for their 10th win in 14 games.
Padres reliever Matt Strahm started the bullpen game and retired nine batters on 36 pitches, including four strikeouts. It was the team’s third bullpen start this season while left-hander Joey Lucchesi recovers from a right hip strain.
Adam Cimber (3-2) retired the next six with two strikeouts before Harrison Bader broke up the perfect game with an infield single in the sixth. Bader was promptly erased in a double play.
Hosmer drove the first pitch of the fourth inning to center field to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. It was his second home run in three games.
A.J. Ellis tacked on two more with a two-out hit in the fourth. The Cardinals challenged the safe call on the second run, but replay showed the Freddy Galvis beat catcher Yadier Molina’s tag at home plate.
Marlins 3, Giants 1
Three years after going undrafted out of Drury College, Trevor Richards has earned his first major league win.
Richards pitched six effective innings to lead the host Miami Marlins to a victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Richards (1-3) allowed two hits in his seventh major league start. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked three.
Phillies 5, Rockies 4
Aaron Nola struck out 10 in another dominant performance, Scott Kingery hit a three-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the visiting Colorado Rockies.
Nola (8-2) allowed one run and four hits in 6⅔ innings, lowering his ERA to 2.27. He has given up three runs or less in 13 of 14 starts.
Seranthony Dominguez escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth for his third save.
Nola left after striking out Ian Desmond with runners on first and third. Edubray Ramos entered and gave up a bloop RBI single to Tom Murphy before recording the third out. Tommy Hunter tossed a scoreless eighth. But Luis Garcia allowed four consecutive singles to start the ninth. He departed after Murphy’s RBI single cut it to 5-2.
Braves 8, Mets 2
Ozzie Albies hit a grand slam and Freddie Freeman homered during a six-run sixth inning, and the host Atlanta Braves beat the reeling New York Mets.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six, but left the game after batting in the fifth. The team said he has triceps tightness.
Ender Inciarte added a pair of RBI singles to help Atlanta shake a rough West Coast trip, when it lost four of six. The Braves moved ahead of Washington for first in the NL East by beating a Mets team that has lost nine of 10 and 16 of 20.
INTERLEAGUE: Yankees 3, Nationals 0
Didi Gregorius ended a long power outage with a pair of home runs, Washington slugger Bryce Harper left in the eighth inning after he was hit by a pitch for the second time, and the New York Yankees beat the visiting Nationals for their 10th win in 12 games.
Harper returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time in three years and fell to the ground in pain when hit on the right elbow by a 90 mph pitch from CC Sabathia (4-1) in the fifth inning. The 2015 NL MVP initially remained in the game but came out after he was hit on the left foot by Dellin Betances’ 89 mph slider leading off the eighth. Harper had been hit just once previously this season and had not been dinged twice in a game since Aug. 16, 2013, at Atlanta.
Harper, a free-agent-to-be, walked in his first two plate appearances. He is hitting .215 since May 1, dropping his average to .228.
Nationals All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy made his season debut after recovering from right knee surgery on Oct. 20. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts as the designated hitter and did not hit the ball out of the infield.
MLB roundup: 6 Rays pitchers combine for 5-hitter, beat Blue Jays 4-1
AMERICAN LEAGUE: Rays 4, Blue Jays 1