Toronto (34-44) at Tampa Bay (38-37)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Thu Jul 1, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays can win their seventh straight series as they close out a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The most surprising team in the league, the Devil Rays have won seven of eight series—the streak spoiled by a rain-shortened series that Tampa Bay split with the Baltimore Orioles from June 4-6.

The Devil Rays, winners of two of the first three in this series are a major league-best 28-9 since May 20. This is the latest in franchise history that team has been over .500.

On Wednesday, Rey Sanchez hit his first conventional home run in more than two years, and Dewon Brazelton pitched five scoreless innings to lead the Devil Rays past the Blue Jays 6-2.

Sanchez’s second homer of the season—a three-run shot—came during a five-run, fourth inning that gave the Devil Rays a 5-0 lead. It was Sanchez’s 15th career homer in his 4,684th at-bat, and the first homer he hit into the stands since April 30, 2002, at Boston.

Brazelton gave up five hits, two walks and struck out two in his first start since taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his previous start, a 2-0 win over Florida last Friday.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have dropped three of four.

For the past month, Toronto’s investment in Miguel Batista has started to pay off. After going 0-3 with a 5.45 ERA in his first six starts, the right-hander is 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA in his last 10.

The 33-year-old righty is going for his third straight win and fourth in five starts.

In his last start, a 10-5 win over the Montreal Expos on Saturday, Batista allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings.

“I thought it was a gutsy performance. He wasn’t carrying his real good stuff today,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He was having a hard time harnessing it, and on top of that, he was battling a blister.

Batista, who has a 1.94 ERA in June, signed a $13.1 million, three-year deal with the Blue Jays in the offseason.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Batista Col vs. M. Hendrickson Bal
10-13 Record 10-15
4.80 ERA 4.81
104 K 87
96 BB 46
1.52 WHIP 1.40