ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays think they have a star in the making in Wil Myers.
The rookie homered in his home debut Monday night, continuing an impressive first week in the majors and helping Jeremy Hellickson beat the Blue Jays 4-1 to end Toronto’s 11-game winning streak.
“He’s very comfortable,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said about Myers. “He’s not overwhelmed whatsoever.”
Myers made his major league debut in Boston at the start of a seven-game trip that ended Sunday. He hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia for his first big league homer during a loss Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
This time, the 22-year-old outfielder hit the second of three consecutive Tampa Bay homers in the second inning, connecting in his first at-bat at Tropicana Field.
Myers, who’s hitting .294 with two home runs, a double and seven RBI after eight games, received a standing ovation and took a curtain call from the 11,407 fans getting their initial close-up view of the key acquisition in the offseason trade that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City for the power-hitting right fielder and other prospects.
“I wasn’t sure what really to do but everyone kept cheering so I thought that might be my cue to go out there,” Myers said. “Actually, I saw that Zoilo Almonte guy get one (in New York) and everyone got up and kept cheering, so I thought it was the same deal for me.”
Myers’ drive to center off Esmil Rogers (3-3) was sandwiched between home runs by James Loney and Sam Fuld as Tampa Bay went deep three times in a span of eight pitches. Luke Scott added a bloop RBI double to make it 4-0 in the third, and that was all the support Hellickson needed.
A night after scoring a season-high 13 runs at home to complete a three-game sweep of Baltimore, the Blue Jays were limited to four singles and five walks. They came up short in their bid to extend the longest winning streak in the majors since Detroit won 12 in a row in 2011.
Hellickson (6-3) gave up J.P. Arencibia’s single, walked four and struck out four. He allowed only one runner past first base — in the second inning, when Colby Rasmus walked and moved to third when Arencibia followed with his hit to center field.
The Blue Jays stranded Rasmus, who drew three of Toronto’s five walks, when Maicer Izturis grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Toronto finally broke through in the eighth when it loaded the bases with one out against Alex Torres with a pair of singles and a walk. Jose Bautista grounded into a force play to drive in a run before Edwin Encarnacion flied out to end the threat.
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for the Rays, earning his 16th save in 21 opportunities.