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Molina a double short of cycle in 6-2 win over Devil Rays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Bengie Molina had a key home run and left his teammates laughing after his rare triple.

Molina hit a tiebreaking, two-run shot during a four-run eighth inning and came within a double of hitting for the cycle, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-2 Thursday night.

Molina put the Blue Jays ahead against Brian Meadows (2-4) with his 12th homer of the season. He singled in the sixth and hit his third career triple, and first since Sept. 7, 2000, in the second inning.

"They were all yelling," Toronto's A.J. Burnett said of the dugout reaction to the triple. "I was trying not to laugh. Everybody else was laughing. We were hoping for that double at the end of the game, but he didn't get it."

Molina started laughing too after looking at his teammates.

"I saw it through the corner of my eye," he said. "I was laughing so hard. I pointed to them because I saw how excited they were for me. It makes you feel good."

With the chance to hit for the cycle, Molina grounded out in the ninth.

"I was thinking about a double at the end," Molina said. "I didn't want to come out of my swing or out of my way to do it, but I was thinking if I hit a ball in the gap or something I was going."

Gregg Zaun, in a 4-for-49 slump, hit a two-run shot homer later in the eighth against Meadows.

Burnett (5-5) won his third straight start, giving up two runs and four hits in seven innings.

Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir allowed two hits and struck out 10 in five scoreless innings, his second start after missing almost three weeks due to left shoulder inflammation. He walked three during an 89-pitch outing.

"It felt good," Kazmir said. "Got ahead with my fastball from the get-go. The slider felt good. I used that a lot with two strikes."

Kazmir has struck out 10 or more five times this season and eight overall. The 22-year-old left-hander has 370 career strikeouts, two short of Victor Zambrano's team record.

"Kazmir was awesome," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You can just see him getting better and better. He's still young, but you just see his game coming together. He's one of the top guys, and he's only going to get better."

Tampa Bay third baseman B.J. Upton left in the third inning with a strained left shoulder. He was hurt while swinging and missing a 1-1 pitch from Burnett.

"When it happened, I didn't really panic because it's happened before ... every once in a while," said Upton, who might be able to play in a day or two. "It's a little strain. It will be up to the coaching staff and training staff when I'll be in there again."

Lyle Overbay (19) and Reed Johnson (10) both tied career highs with solo homers off Jon Switzer to tie it at 2 in the seventh. Overbay has 12 RBI in his last 10 games.

Toronto loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but failed to score when Kazmir struck out John McDonald for his sixth strikeout of the game.

Carl Crawford had the Devil Rays' first three hits off Burnett. He led off the sixth with his third single and then stole second to give him three stolen bases in consecutive games. After Travis Lee walked, Dioner Navarro put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 with a single. Jorge Cantu made it 2-0 in the sixth with a run-scoring grounder.

Crawford, who went 3-for-4, has 23 hits in 48 at-bats against the Blue Jays this season.

Notes

Crawford has 42 stolen bases this season. He is the fifth active player to have stolen 40 bases in four or more seasons. ... The Blue Jays traded INF-OF Eric Hinske to Boston for a player to be named and recalled INF John Hattig from Triple-A Syracuse. Hattig is first native of Guam to reach the major leagues. ... Toronto optioned RHP Francisco Rosario to Syracuse.

 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

S. Kazmir
IP 5.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 10
Toronto

B. Molina
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF5121020 .332
Aaron Hill, 2B5000031 .293
Vernon Wells, CF5010021 .319
Troy Glaus, 3B3110210 .260
Bengie Molina, DH5132004 .286
Alex Rios, RF4000022 .307
Lyle Overbay, 1B2211200 .306
Gregg Zaun, C3112100 .261
John McDonald, SS4000023 .223
Totals3669651211 
Batting
2B - Troy Glaus (22, Meadows)
3B - Bengie Molina (1, Kazmir)
HR - Reed Johnson (10, Switzer), Bengie Molina (12, Meadows), Lyle Overbay (19, Switzer), Gregg Zaun (8, Meadows)
RBI - Reed Johnson (36), Bengie Molina 2 (36), Lyle Overbay (74), Gregg Zaun 2 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Reed Johnson (15), Gregg Zaun 2 (8)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Zaun-McDonald
Toronto Blue Jays
A.J. Burnett (W,5-5) 7422310 4.29
Brandon League 2200020 2.08
HBP - Gomes (by A.J. Burnett)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 103-68, Brandon League 23-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 12-7, Brandon League 2-2
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 28, Brandon League 8
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
B.J. Upton, 3B1000000 .196
   a- Ben Zobrist, PH-SS3000001 .212
Rocco Baldelli, CF4000003 .275
Carl Crawford, LF4130000 .313
Travis Lee, 1B3110102 .215
Dioner Navarro, C4011012 .260
Jorge Cantu, 2B4001011 .246
Russell Branyan, RF2000111 .211
    Damon Hollins, RF1000000 .221
Jonny Gomes, DH2010100 .215
Tomas Perez, SS-3B3000003 .215
Totals312623313 
a-grounded out for Upton in the 3rd
Batting
SH - Tomas Perez (3)
RBI - Dioner Navarro (19), Jorge Cantu (48)
SB - Carl Crawford 3 (42, 2nd base off Burnett/Zaun, 2nd base off Burnett/Zaun, 2nd base off Burnett/Zaun), Russell Branyan (2, 2nd base off Burnett/Zaun)
CS - Jorge Cantu (1, 2nd base by Burnett/Zaun)
Team LOB - 7
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Kazmir 52003100 3.31
Shawn Camp 1100010 4.45
Jon Switzer (BS,2) 0.2222002 6.62
Brian Meadows (L,2-4) 1.1344112 4.86
Dan Miceli 1100100 4.86
WP - Dan Miceli (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 89-56, Shawn Camp 12-8, Jon Switzer 11-8, Brian Meadows 24-15, Dan Miceli 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 2-3, Shawn Camp 2-0, Jon Switzer 2-0, Brian Meadows 1-2, Dan Miceli 1-2
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 20, Shawn Camp 4, Jon Switzer 4, Brian Meadows 8, Dan Miceli 5
Game Information
Attendance - 8697
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Mark Wegner