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Kendrys Morales’ grand slam leads Blue Jays over Rays, Blake Snell

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You can blame one swing of the bat.

Or, if you look closer, you can blame the walks that came before it.

Together, the two led to a four-run third inning that gave the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday night. Blake Snell gave up a grand slam to Kendrys Morales in the third, but only after giving up two-out walks to Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista.

“Walks,” Snell said, shaking his head. “that’s always been the thing that gets me so. So I just gotta attack, and I felt like I did really good attacking today. Just gotta do some things mentally to stay into it, but, like I said, things I’m aware of so I can get better at it.”

Manager Kevin Cash agreed.

“I thought Blake had really good stuff,” Cash said. “Any time you give up a grand slam in the third, it’s going to be a big blow. Maybe he drew some experiences from last year, knowing that at that point the game wasn’t over. We still had plenty of outs and innings to get, and he went and got them for us.”

The Rays struggled against Blue Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman, who was backed by three of Toronto’s four double plays.

For the second straight night, Souza was out at the plate for the Rays. This time, he jammed his leg but stayed in the game and had three hits. Snell struck out five and had five walks.

“I was really proud of him, actually,” Souza said. “One pitch changed the game. He got himself into jam. He could’ve collapsed after that and he went 6 2/3 and did a great job. That’s a good start to build off of. Obviously, the results weren’t there with the grand slam, but he can build off that result and keep going forward.”

The Rays and Blue Jays play again tonight at the Trop, with Matt Andriese pitching against Francisco Liriano.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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