It was abundantly clear early on: this game was going to be nothing like the one last night.
The Toronto Bule Jays came out storming in the top of the first inning. With two outs and Rajai Davis aboard after a leadoff single, Adam Lind took one deep into the seats in right field for the early lead, message sent.
The question was: how would the Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher Jeff Niemann respond?
Niemann responded by giving up a double to Juan Rivera in the next at-bat. He then hit Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch to set the tone for what looked like a rough outing.
Rays manager Joe Maddon let his actions speak for him; he pulled the towering Texan after allowing three runs on six hits through the first four innings. Andy Sonnanstine took the hill for Tampa Bay in the top of the fifth.
Niemann, it was later revealed, was pulled as a precautionary measure due to back stiffness. He will be further evaluated.
Had the game been a debate, Toronto would have led with a loud, brash emotive rant whereas the Rays’ rebuttal was meekly unintelligible.
One-two-three they fell in the first. Sam Fuld grounded to Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow. Ben Zobrist walked but was out on Johnny’s Damon’s fielder’s choice. Damon was thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch with Evan Longoria at the plate.
When the chances were there, something always went wrong.
Perhaps the most fight displayed those in Rays uniforms were the shit-fits thrown by Maddon and B.J. Upton, both of which led to ejections.