Tampa Bay (45-52) at Toronto (42-55)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 25, 2004
  • TV: FSFL, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Rookie Dave Bush has given the Toronto Blue Jays a glimmer of hope during their miserable season.

Coming off a brilliant performance in his third career start, Bush hopes to lead Toronto to a three-game sweep of the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays at SkyDome.

The right-hander did not receive a decision in Toronto’s 1-0, 14-inning loss in Oakland on Tuesday, but he did open some eyes in the organization by taking a no-hitter in the eighth inning before allowing a single to Damian Miller with one out.

In eight innings, Bush allowed the one hit and walked three while striking out six. The 24-year-old Pittsburgh native was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on July 2 to take the rotation spot of struggling veteran Pat Hentgen, who announced his retirement Saturday.

“For the most part, I was throwing strikes to both sides of the plate,” Bush said. “In the fourth or fifth inning, I started thinking about (a no-hitter). I knew what was going on.”

Still looking for his first career win, Bush was 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA for Syracuse, winning just once in his last five starts before his first big league call-up.

On Saturday, Josh Towers pitched seven strong innings to lead Toronto to a 4-2 win over the Devil Rays. Towers allowed two runs and six hits, throwing just 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

Blue Jays manager Carlos 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 above .500 on July 3, the Devil Rays have gone 5-14.

In 15 of those 19 games, the Devil Rays have scored four runs or fewer. The Rays have lost their last two series after going 10-2-5 in their previous 17, with the only series losses coming against the New York Yankees

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

The Devil Rays also lost eight straight on the road from May 5-16.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Zambrano NYY vs. D. Bush Tor
11-7 Record 5-4
4.37 ERA 3.69
123 K 64
102 BB 25
1.56 WHIP 1.23