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Alek Manoah fans 7 in first victory of season as Blue Jays avoid sweep, beat Rays 5-2

TORONTO (AP) — Daniel Vogelbach homered and scored three runs, Alek Manoah struck out seven in seven innings to win for the first time since last August and the Toronto Blue Jays avoided their first sweep of the season by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Sunday.

Alejandro Kirk reached base three times and drove in two runs as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak with their third shutout win.

“I think it’s huge for this team,” Manoah said. “AL East opponent, don’t want nobody coming in our house and sweeping us.”

George Springer hit an RBI double, walked twice and scored twice as Toronto stopped Tampa Bay’s winning streak at four. The Rays had won 11 of their previous 15.

“Quiet day offensively for us,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You’ve got to appreciate that Manoah was tough. Everything was working.”

Making his third start of the season, Manoah (1-1) walked one, hit two batters and allowed just one hit, Ben Rortvedt’s leadoff single in the third.

“He stepped up when we really needed him,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “This was probably the best he’s looked, even going back to 2022.”

Manoah went 9-2 as a rookie in 2021 and was a Cy Young finalist in 2022, when he finished 16-7. He struggled to a 3-9 mark last year and was sent down twice.

The right-hander said he’s not interested in comparing his current form to his standout sophomore season.

“I’m not looking back,” Manoah said. “I’m not going that way.”

Sunday was Manoah’s first big league win since beating Boston at Fenway Park last August 4. He made one more start last season before being demoted to Triple-A.

“He pitched at the top of the zone really well,” Cash said. “We just couldn’t get anything going against him.”

Jonny DeLuca, who stole second after being hit by a pitch in the fifth, was the only Rays runner to advance past first base against Manoah. The right-hander pumped his fist and yelled after striking out DeLuca swinging on a high fastball to end his outing.

“The energy from this crowd has been unbelievable,” Manoah said. “Just trying to feed off all that and let my emotions go freely there.”

Trevor Richards pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. After Jonathan Aranda reached on a two-out infield single against Zach Pop in the ninth, Isaac Paredes followed with a two-run homer, his ninth. Paredes has reached safely in a career-best 18 straight.

Richie Palacios chased Pop with a single before Jordan Romano finished for his seventh save in eight chances.

Vogelbach finished 3 for 4. He homered off Rays right-hander Aaron Civale in the second, his first, doubled and scored in the fourth, and singled and scored in the sixth.

Later in the sixth, Kirk made it 5-0 with a two-out double off reliever Manuel Rodríguez.

Civale (2-4) allowed five runs, four earned, and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. His ERA rose from 5.83 to 5.92.

“He fell behind some guys and they made him pay a little bit,” Cash said.

Civale is 0-3 in seven starts since an April 9 victory over the Angels.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Chad Green (teres major strain) struck out a batter in one scoreless inning in a rehab outing at Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday. Green allowed a leadoff double and retired the next three batters. … RHP Bowden Francis (forearm) got the win for Buffalo with 2 1/3 shutout innings in a rehab outing in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Taj Bradley (1-1, 2.45 ERA) starts Monday as Tampa Bay hosts Boston. RHP Tanner Houck (3-5, 2.17) goes for the Red Sox.

Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos (4-2, 2.82 ERA) starts Monday as Toronto begins a three-game series against the White Sox. RHP Erick Fedde (4-0, 2.60) starts for Chicago.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb