ST. PETERSBURG Mike Foltynewicz Jersey , Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays found success with a new pitching formula.Ryan Yarbrough got his rookie-leading 16th win and the Rays turned another bullpen game into their 90th victory, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 on Sunday.The Rays (90-72) went to the unconventional plan of using relievers to open games in addition to traditional starters in mid-May because of injuries.The results were about equal, as Tampa Bay went 46-38 with regular starters and 44-34 when utilizing the bullpen, and the trend began to take hold around the majors. But no team did it as often as the Rays.“I don’t think you can really argue with the results we’ve had with it, and not just with me but with other guys too,” Yarbrough said. “For it to work that well was a big blessing, and you never know, if it didn’t work that well, we’d never know where we could be right now.”Ryne Stanek was Tampa Bay’s “opener” for the 29th time and went two scoreless innings. Yarbrough (16-6) followed and gave up two runs and four hits over three innings to get his 14th relief win.Austin Pruitt went the final 3 1/3 innings to pick up his fourth save. He’s gone three or more innings in four of his five career saves.The Rays went 87-60 after losing 12 of their first 15 games.“Hopefully the groundwork has been laid,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The core group that has gotten some opportunities, played at a really high level, learned how to win together.”Outgoing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to have some fun in the finale and let 35-year-old catcher Russell Martin manage the game.Martin said he “thought about it for a couple seconds” before deciding to keep himself on the bench, declining the opportunity to serve as a player-manager.“It was fun ,” Martin said. “Didn’t realize how much went into it. A cool experience. It’s tougher than it looks.”Toronto announced Wednesday that Gibbons will not be back as manager next season.“He’s one of my favorites,” Martin said. “I’m going to miss him. He’s a special guy. He’s kind of like having a second dad.”Over two stints totaling 11 seasons, Gibbons went 793-789 with the Blue Jays.Toronto finished 73-89, a three-game drop from 2017.Tampa Bay improved 10 games from last year and joined the 2012 Rays (90) and 2013 Texas Rangers (91) as the only 90-win teams since the second wild card was introduced in 2012 to miss the postseason.Joey Wendle and Jake Bauers both had two RBIs for the Rays, who went 13-6 against Toronto. Tampa Bay has dominated the series at home, going 111-74.Sam Gaviglio (3-10) allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.SEATS AVAILABLEDespite the strong on-field showing, the Rays’ announced home attendance of 1,154,973 was their lowest since 2005 (1,141,699). Tampa Bay drew 1,253,619 last season. Sunday’s crowd was 13 Brandon McCarthy Jersey ,313. Only Miami (811,104) drew fewer fans.STAYING THE COURSEThe Rays are happy with the progress of two-way player Brendan McKay at Single-A Charlotte this season and plan to continue the experiment. “Where this ends up going I think we don’t know exactly still, but we’re really encouraged,” Tampa Bay senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said.Bloom said McKay, whose season ended prematurely because of an oblique injury, has been working in the instructional league and has gotten back “to where he’s a healthy player.”RAYS’ HOT STREAKSTommy Pham walked in the third to extend his on-base streak to 32 games, the longest active streak in the majors. Johnny Damon holds the team record with 39. … Wendle set a club rookie record by hitting .300. … Mallex Smith stole 40 bases.UP NEXTBlue Jays: Open the 2019 season at home against Detroit on March 28.Rays: Host AL West champion Houston on opening day of 2019. Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia suggested Friday that undergoing knee surgery after the 2017 season was a mistake.According to's David Schoenfield, Pedroia would have done things differently given the benefit of hindsight:"No, I wouldn't have done it. I don't regret doing it, but looking back and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done it."As a result of the surgery, Pedroia missed the first two months of the 2018 season. He returned in May but appeared in just three games before getting shut down for the remainder of the campaign.The surgery Pedroia underwent was a cartilage restoration in his left knee. It involved taking cartilage from a cadaver and grafting it inside his knee.Pedroia acknowledged he wasn't aware of everything the surgery entailed:"It's a complicated surgery. The cartilage in my knee is great now, but the graft is the thing. You're putting somebody else's bone in your body. To get that to incorporate fully , there are so many things that, going into it, I didn't know all that stuff. I thought, 'They were like, you tore this, we can fix it. Great.'"Rather than undergoing surgery, Pedroia had the option of rehabbing the injury. Looking back, Pedroia feels as though he may have tried to come back too soon:"I think the difference was last year everyone wanted me to come back better than I was before, instead of just coming back. I might have pushed it too hard or done too much, but as far as following directions, I followed every step. I think some of the directions were, timing wise, a little off."The 35-year-old Pedroia is a four-time All-Star Jose Ramirez Jersey , four-time Gold Glove Award winner and one-time American League MVP who is set to enter his 14th MLB season.Prior to playing just three games in 2018, Pedroia was highly productive in 2017 despite playing through knee pain. He hit .293 to go along with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 105 games.While Pedroia hasn't been an All-Star since 2013, he is a reliable presence in the field and at the plate when healthy.For his career, Pedroia is a .300 hitter with 140 homers, 724 RBI, 921 runs scored and 138 stolen bases.With regard to his status entering 2019, Pedroia made it clear he's healthy and ready to go, but he also stressed the importance of not pushing himself too hard:"I don't have any restrictions. I just have to be smart. I don't need to take a hundred groundballs. I need to take the amount that gets me ready for the game and then stop. Just limit the time on my feet and make sure I'm always staying on top of things to keep me healthy."En route to winning the World Series last season, Boston primarily utilized Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt at second base.With Pedroia coming back, the Red Sox will be able to use Nunez and Holt in utility roles, but they also don't have to overwork Pedroia due to the fact that they have plenty of middle infield depth.