Tampa Bay at Toronto

Tampa Bay
W: J. Towers (5-3) L: R. Bell (3-4)
S: J. Frasor (12)
HR: TB - None   TOR - None

Blue Jays 4, Devil Rays 2

SportsLine.com wire reports

TORONTO -- Josh Towers keep solidifying his place in Toronto's rotation.

Towers won his third straight start, and the Blue Jays beat the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-2 Saturday.

With Pat Hentgen's decision to retire Saturday and injuries sidelining Roy Halladay and Justin Miller, Towers likely will remain in the rotation for a while.

"The more he pitches for us, the fewer mistakes he makes," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "Now when he's missing, it's down, where in the past it's been out and over the plate."

Towers (5-3) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven innings. He threw just 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

"I was kind of shocked that I had just 75 through seven," said Towers, who designated for assignment earlier this season. "I think had like 49 after five or six, and I was like, `Wow I used them wisely."'

Rookie Jason Frasor got four outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.

Tosca was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing with first base umpire Sam Holbrook. Tosca was upset that Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli was called safe on the back end of what he thought was a double play, and later on a pickoff attempt. Television replays showed Baldelli appeared to beat the tag.

"Two incorrect calls in one inning is unacceptable," Tosca said.

Tampa Bay has lost five straight overall and eight in a row on the road. Since moving a season-high two games over .500 on July 3, the Devil Rays have gone 5-14.

"It just seems like we can't get the big hit," All-Star Carl Crawford said. "We've been here before, but we have to come out of it."

Rob Bell (3-4) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.

Crawford singled in the first, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt before scoring on Aubrey Huff's sacrifice fly. Crawford leads the majors with 41 steals.

Toronto's Gregg Zaun hit an RBI single in the bottom half, and Alex Rios scored on Orlando Hudson's run-scoring double play in the second. Wells and Zaun hit RBI doubles in the third for a 4-1 lead.

Crawford scored Tampa Bay's second run in the sixth after Zaun, Toronto's catcher, interfered with him during a rundown between home and third.


Hentgen retired Saturday in the middle of a poor season for the Blue Jays. The 35-year-old right-hander is 2-9 with a 6.95 ERA after returning to the Blue Jays last offseason. Hentgen won the 1996 AL Cy Young Award. ... It was the second time Tosca was ejected this season and fifth time in his career. ... The Devil Rays also lost eight straight on the road from May 5-16. ... Tampa Bay has been outscored 40-16 in its last four road games.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Players of the Game

G. Zaun
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

J. Towers
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 2

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Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Carl Crawford, LF4230000 .311
Julio Lugo, SS3010011 .281
Aubrey Huff, DH2001100 .276
    Joey Gathright, PR-DH0000000 .265
Rocco Baldelli, CF4010023 .285
Jose Cruz Jr., RF4000012 .239
Tino Martinez, 1B4020000 .266
Rey Sanchez, 2B3000101 .257
Toby Hall, C4010001 .294
    Jorge Cantu, PR0000000 .263
Geoff Blum, 3B3000000 .206
   a- Robert Fick, PH1000002 .208
a-grounded out for Blum in the 9th
2B - Julio Lugo (25, Towers), Tino Martinez (12, Towers)
3B - Carl Crawford (15, Chulk)
SF - Aubrey Huff (4)
SH - Julio Lugo (3)
RBI - Aubrey Huff (61)
SB - Carl Crawford (41, 2nd base off Towers/Zaun), Joey Gathright (5, 2nd base off Frasor/Zaun)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Sanchez-Lugo-T. Martinez, Lugo-T. Martinez, T. Martinez
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Rob Bell (L,3-4) 6644410 5.07
Jorge Sosa 1000110 5.56
Trever Miller 1100000 2.87
Pitches-Strikes - Rob Bell 93-53, Jorge Sosa 17-8, Trever Miller 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rob Bell 9-6, Jorge Sosa 2-0, Trever Miller 1-1
Batters Faced - Rob Bell 26, Jorge Sosa 4, Trever Miller 3
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF3100100 .284
Frank Catalanotto, DH3110101 .333
Vernon Wells, CF3111112 .289
Carlos Delgado, 1B2010201 .208
Gregg Zaun, C4022001 .293
Eric Hinske, 3B4000004 .266
Alexis Rios, RF3110001 .294
Chris Gomez, SS3010000 .284
Orlando Hudson, 2B3000010 .250
2B - Frank Catalanotto (18, R. Bell), Vernon Wells (22, R. Bell), Gregg Zaun (16, R. Bell)
RBI - Vernon Wells (33), Gregg Zaun 2 (21)
2-OUT RBI - Gregg Zaun (10)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Vernon Wells 1
DP - Hudson-Delgado
E - Gregg Zaun (6, Missed catch)
Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Towers (W,5-3) 7621020 4.53
Vinny Chulk (H,8) 0.2100100 3.00
Jason Frasor (S,12) 1.1100120 2.13
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Towers 74-50, Vinny Chulk 15-7, Jason Frasor 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Towers 10-8, Vinny Chulk 1-1, Jason Frasor 1-1
Batters Faced - Josh Towers 26, Vinny Chulk 4, Jason Frasor 6
Game Information
Attendance - 18841
Game Time - 2:17
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Randy Marsh