Siri, Arozarena, Raley homer, Rays beat Blue Jays 6-4

Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After hitting 139 homers last season, the Tampa Bay Rays could blow past that total before this year’s All-Star break.

Jose Siri, Randy Arozarena and Luke Raley homered, and the major league-leading Rays beat the sliding Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night.

Tampa Bay (35-14) leads the major leagues with 94 home runs. The Rays opened a three-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East.

“The team that we have, we have a team that can run, that can field, that can hit,” Siri said through a translator. “It doesn’t matter what pitcher is up there, we feel confident in our ability to hit.”

After opener Trevor Kelley pitched two scoreless innings, Josh Fleming (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits over the next six as the Rays improved to 22-4 at home.

Tampa Bay is the ninth team since 1901 win 22 of its first 26 home games.

The announced crowd at Tropicana Field was a season-low 8,857. Tampa Bay started the day averaging 18,045, 10th in the American League.

Toronto’s Chris Bassitt (5-3) pitched 28 consecutive scoreless inning before the Rays scored three times in the second. He allowed six runs – two earned – and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Whit Merrifield and Daulton Varsho homered for the Blue Jays (25-23), who have lost seven of eight and dropped 9 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay.

Varsho hit a solo homer in the ninth against Zack Littell, who was replaced by Pete Fairbanks with two on and one out. Fairbanks allowed a two-out RBI single to pinch-hitter Brandon Belt and loaded the bases with a walk George Springer before getting a comebacker from Bo Bichette for his fifth save.

“It’s not a lack of effort,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “These guys want it, and they’re battling. You look at the ninth inning, there’s no quit. That’s what gives you a lot of confidence going forward.”

Arozarena had a leadoff double in the second and scored with two outs when first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was charged with an error after mishandling second baseman Merrifield’s throw from behind the base on Christian Bethancourt‘s grounder. Siri followed with a homer to center.

“We take advantage of those little mistakes that the other team’s make,” Siri said.

Bassitt’s scoreless stretch was the second-longest season streak in franchise history, trailing Roger Clemens’ 33 innings in 1998. Dave Steib had a 34-inning run in 1988-89.

Guerrero got his second error after dropping a flip from Bassitt on a hard-hit ball by Wander Franco that the first baseman blocked. Guerrero stayed in the game after Franco stepped on his foot, which was on the base.

Isaac Paredes‘ two-out RBI single later in the third made it 4-0.

Merrifield cut the deficit to 4-2 on a fourth-inning, two-run drive.

Arozarena went deep in the sixth, and Raley added his shot one inning later.


Toronto CF Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for3 in his first regular season game at Tropicana Field as a visiting player after spending 10 years with the Rays.

“I’ve got a lot of different emotions going on,” Kiermaier said. “This is the place that was home for me for so many years. Making the drive over here today like I have hundreds of times before a lot of nostalgia,”

There was a video tribute for the popular Kiermaier after the first inning. He threw out Franco at the plate on Brandon Lowe‘s fifth-inning flyball.


Blue Jays: INF Santiago Espinal (right hamstring inflammation) went on the 10-day injured list. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu and reliever Chad Green will have bullpen sessions Tuesday. Both are coming off Tommy John surgery and are expected back this season.

Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said RHP Tyler Glasnow (left oblique) could make his season debut Saturday. … LHP Jake Diekman was placed on the paternity list.


Toronto RHP José Berríos (3-4) and Rays RHP Taj Bradley (3-0) are Tuesday night’s starters.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.