Blue Jays 9, Devil Rays 7

Preview | Box Score | Recap

TORONTO (AP)—The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Toronto Blue Jays are battling for last place in the AL East—and it showed Sunday.

Vernon Wells homered in Toronto’s five-run third inning and the Blue Jays beat the Devil Rays 9-7 in an error-filled game.

Guillermo Quiroz had two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who moved two games behind fourth-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.

Aubrey Huff and Tino Martinez homered for the Devil Rays, who made three errors and are trying to avoid a last-place finish for the first time in their seven-year history.

“Let it go down to the last day if it has to,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.

The Devil Rays have the third-worst fielding percentage in the AL, and the third-most errors.

“For about year and a half, we were in the top three or four teams in the league defensively and over the course of the second half of the year we’ve worked out way to the bottom three or four,” Piniella said.

Vinnie Chulk (1-3) pitched 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win. Justin Speier got three outs for his seventh save.

Chulk didn’t realize he had gotten credit for the win until about 10 minutes after the game.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It was good to get the first one out of the way.”

Chulk was one of nine rookies forced to wear a dress for their flight to New York.

“I think I got the best one of all of them,” said Chulk, who had a pink, green and white dress on the chair near his locker. “They got me pretty good. I’ll wear it with pride.”

Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir (2-2), a highly regarded prospect acquired from the New York Mets on July 30 for Victor Zambrano, allowed seven runs and six hits in two-plus innings.

“I just didn’t have it today,” Kazmir said.

Huff homered off Justin Miller in the first, his 27th of the season.

Kazmir struck out the first two batters he faced, but walked Vernon Wells before throwing a wild pitch and allowing an RBI single to Carlos Delgado.

Frank Menechino followed with a walk, and Chris Gomez and Alex Rios later hit consecutive run-scoring singles.

Toby Hall hit an RBI grounder in the second and Martinez’s three-run homer in the third gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead.

The Blue Jays sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom half.

After Wells led off with his homer, Delgado hit a hard grounder that bounced over the head of shortstop Julio Lugo for what was ruled a double.

Frank Menechino followed with what looked to be a fly out, but right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. appeared to lose the ball in the sun. The ball bounced at least 5 feet away from Cruz, allowing Delgado to score on the RBI double.

Chris Woodward later hit a run-scoring double, Quiroz followed with a two-run double to give Toronto a 8-5 lead.

Lugo’s run-scoring throwing error in the fourth made it 9-5.

Notes

The Blue Jays purchased the contracts of pitchers Gustavo Chacin and Brandon League from Double-A New Hampshire. Chacin, a left-hander, will start Monday night in New York against the Yankees. He went 16-2 with a 2.92 ERA and was named the Eastern League’s pitcher of the year. … The Devil Rays finished their road trip 4-9.

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