Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 1

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TORONTO (AP)—Not even a poor outing by their starting pitcher could derail the Devil Rays.

Tampa Bay extended its franchise-record winning streak to 12 games Tuesday night, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 behind homers from Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford.

Devil Rays starter Chad Gaudin was lifted after walking four in the first inning, but four relievers went the rest of the way for a three-hitter.

The Devil Rays (33-34) went 3-19 from April 25 to May 19, but they’re a major league-best 23-6 in their last 29 games. Tampa Bay has the longest winning streak in the majors since Arizona won 12 straight June 18-30 last season.

“At the beginning of the season it was terrible. We were just Tampa Bay,” Lugo said. “Now everybody is calling us the stinging Rays.”

Gaudin got just two outs—the Devil Rays turned a double play in the first. Travis Harper (2-0) got Chris Woodward to fly out to end the threat.

Manager Lou Piniella said Gaudin didn’t want to come out, even after a second visit to the mound.

“When I went out to Gaudin the second time he said, ‘I can get him out, Skip,”’ Piniella said. “I said, ‘It’s the second visit.’ He didn’t know the second-visit rule. I started to laugh.”

Harper allowed two hits in four scoreless innings. Trever Miller got the last out of the fifth, Jorge Sosa gave up a run in two innings and Lance Carter pitched two perfect innings to end it.

Howie Clark homered off Sosa in the seventh, ending a scoreless streak by Tampa Bay’s bullpen at 24 1-3 innings.

Crawford said Tampa Bay’s bullpen has improved.

“From a player’s standpoint it’s gone from a sense of being nervous to knowing that the job is going to get done,” Crawford said.

Toronto fell 10 games below .500 for the fourth time this season. The Blue Jays are missing injured sluggers Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells.

Toronto starter Pat Hentgen (2-7) lost his fifth straight decision, allowing four runs and five hits in five-plus innings.

“It was pretty much a grind,” Hentgen said. “I didn’t have command.”

Lugo led off the fourth with a homer, and Crawford connected in the fifth. Lugo has homered in his last five games at SkyDome.

After Rey Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth, Crawford hit an RBI single, giving Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead.

Lugo reached on an infield single in the eighth and scored on a wild pitch.


Tampa Bay outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. is day to day with a bruised left knee. … The Blue Jays purchased the contract of RHP Adam Peterson fromDouble-A New Hampshire and optioned LHP Jason Kershner to Triple-A Syracuse.

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