ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — George Springer homered twice, Alejandro Kirk and Teoscar Hernández also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 on Sunday to gain a four-game split.
Toronto (86-67) opered a two-game lead over Tampa Bay (84-69) for the top wild card with nine games left.
Seattle (83-68) was also two games back with a game to play later Sunday against Kansas City.
Toronto allowed 20 runs in losing the first two games, but limited Tampa Bay to a total of two runs to win the final two.
Ross Stripling (9-4) allowed one run and six hits in five innings.
Rays all-star Shane McClanahan (12-7), who was pulled in the fifth inning of his previous start due to neck tightness, gave up four runs and six hits, including a career-high three homers, over five innings.
Springer belted a two-run shot in the third inning, and added a fifth-inning solo drive for his 23rd homer this season as the Blue Jays took a 4-1 lead.
Springer finished with three hits in his 20th career multi-homer game.
Kirk hit a solo homer during the second, and Hernández made it 6-1 with a two-run homer in the eighth off Garrett Cleavinger.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a ninth-inning RBI single.
Randy Arozarena pulled the Rays to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the third.
Sunday’s announced crowd was 16,394, giving the Rays a final home attendance for the season of 1,128,127. The total will be the third lowest in the majors. Tampa Bay drew 1,178,735 in 2019, which was the last year before two seasons with COVID attendance restrictions. The Rays have drawn under 1.3 million at home every year since 2015.
Springer has three homers in 13 at-bats against McClanahan. ... Rays SS Wander Franco extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single. … Tampa Bay 1B Harold Ramirez had three hits.
Retiring Rays bullpen coach Stan Boroski and major league medical coordinator Paul Harker threw ceremonial first pitches. Boroski is in his 13th season with the team, while Harker joined the Rays for their inaugural season in 1998.
Rays: 3B Yandy Díaz (left shoulder) was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game but could start Tuesday. … RHP Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to rejoin the rotation Wednesday night at Cleveland.
Blue Jays: Open a home series Monday night against the New York Yankees.
Rays: RHP Corey Kluber (10-9) will pitch in Cleveland for first since leaving the team after the 2019 season. Kluber, who won the AL Cy Young Award with Cleveland in 2014 and 2017, will face RHP Shane Bieber (12-8).
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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press