Toronto (71-70) at Tampa Bay (59-84)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Sun Sep 11, 2005
  • TV: RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Toronto left-hander Gustavo Chacin is one of several candidates for AL Rookie of the Year. A strong finish to his season would certainly help his case.

Chacin will try to pitch the Blue Jays to a season high-tying fourth straight victory when they complete a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

After going 0-3 with a 5.30 ERA in six starts in August, Chacin was much better in his first start this month, posting a 6-2 victory at Baltimore on Monday. He limited the Orioles to one run and four hits over 6 1-3 innings while walking one and striking out five.

“I didn’t get any wins the last month, but I’m happy with the outings I had,” Chacin said. “I pitched some real good games.”

Chacin only pitched poorly in his last two starts in August, but didn’t receive much support from his teammates. The Blue Jays averaged only 2.3 runs in his six starts last month.

With 12 wins to lead all AL rookies, Chacin’s main competition for Rookie of the Year figures to come from position players like Tadahito Iguchi of the Chicago White Sox and Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson and closer Huston Street from Oakland.

Gregg Zaun and Russ Adams hit consecutive RBI singles in the ninth inning off Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez, leading Toronto to a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.

Toronto has won three in row and four of five to move a game over .500. A victory Sunday would put the Jays two games above the break-even mark for the first time since Aug. 24, when they were 64-62.

The Blue Jays won for only the second time in 64 games when trailing after eight innings. The comeback made a winner of starter Dave Bush.

“Last week they got the win and tonight we were able to scratch out a win for Bush,” Adams said. “To pitch the way he pitched in both the last two games he definitely didn’t deserve to get two losses for it. It feels good to give him the win and good for our club.”

Damon Hollins hit a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, his first home run since Aug. 3.

Despite losing three of their last four games, the Devil Rays have been a very formidable opponent in the second half, going 31-23 since the All-Star break.

Saturday’s defeat was Tampa Bay’s major league-leading 15th when ahead after seven innings.

“Tough loss,” Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “You lose close ballgames, they’re all tough.”

Tampa Bay counters with a left-hander of its own in Casey Fossum, who has pitched much better at home lately, winning four of his last five starts at Tropicana Field.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Chacin NYM vs. C. Fossum Bal
13-9 Record 8-12
3.72 ERA 4.92
121 K 128
70 BB 60
1.39 WHIP 1.41