Blue Jays 4, Devil Rays 2

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TORONTO (AP)—Josh Towers keep solidifying his place in Toronto’s rotation.

Towers won his third straight start, and the Blue Jays beat the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-2 Saturday.

With Pat Hentgen’s decision to retire Saturday and injuries sidelining Roy Halladay and Justin Miller, Towers likely will remain in the rotation for a while.

“The more he pitches for us, the fewer mistakes he makes,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “Now when he’s missing, it’s down, where in the past it’s been out and over the plate.”

Towers (5-3) allowed two runs—one earned—and six hits in seven innings. He threw just 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

“I was kind of shocked that I had just 75 through seven,” said Towers, who designated for assignment earlier this season. “I think had like 49 after five or six, and I was like, `Wow I used them wisely.”’

Rookie Jason Frasor got four outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.

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 over .500 on July 3, the Devil Rays have gone 5-14.

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

Rob Bell (3-4) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.

Crawford singled in the first, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt before scoring on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly. Crawford leads the majors with 41 steals.

Toronto’s Gregg Zaun hit an RBI single in the bottom half, and Alex Rios scored on Orlando Hudson’s run-scoring double play in the second. Wells and Zaun hit RBI doubles in the third for a 4-1 lead.

Crawford scored Tampa Bay’s second run in the sixth after Zaun, Toronto’s catcher, interfered with him during a rundown between home and third.


Hentgen retired Saturday in the middle of a poor season for the Blue Jays. The 35-year-old right-hander is 2-9 with a 6.95 ERA after returning to the Blue Jays last offseason. Hentgen won the 1996 AL Cy Young Award. … It was the second time Tosca was ejected this season and fifth time in his career. … The Devil Rays also lost eight straight on the road from May 5-16. … Tampa Bay has been outscored 40-16 in its last four road games.

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