Devil Rays 3, Blue Jays 0
TORONTO (AP)—Lou Piniella couldn’t remember the last time the Devil Rays had a shutout.
It was Tampa Bay’s first shutout in 125 games, since August 23, 2004.
“Last August? My God, you’ve got to have a pretty good memory,” Piniella said.
Before the game, Piniella urged his players during a team meeting to have some pride after they went a major league-worst 28-61 in the first half.
With the victory, Piniella passed Earl Weaver for 19th on the all-time list for wins by a manager with 1481.
“I thought I’d catch him when the season started. I only needed 29,” Piniella said to laughter. “I’m happy about that. I played for Earl in Double-A at Elmira in the Eastern League in 1965. He’s a character. He had a great career, too.”
Piniella did everything he could to win this one, bringing in Baez with two outs in the eighth inning even though Fossum was four outs from a shutout.
Fossum (4-7) allowed just four hits, while striking out four and walking none in a career-high 7 2-3 innings. Baez finished for his 14th save in 20 chances.
Baez entered after Fossum hit John McDonald with a pitch with nobody on base.
“I was gassed,” Fossum said.
Pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto grounded out on Baez’s first pitch to end the inning. Baez gave up two hits to start the ninth but retired the next three batters to end it.
“It’s a good way to start the second half for us,” Fossum said. “It was a well managed game. Just a real fundamentally sound game. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Piniella also put his team through an extra one-hour workout emphasizing fundamentals at 2:30 p.m. It seemed to work as they scored their first two runs after advancing runners with sacrifices.
Cantu credited Piniella for the victory.
“Lou made a lot of sense in that meeting. That pretty much got us going,” Cantu said.
Toronto has lost four straight since ace Roy Halladay broke a bone in his lower left leg. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
Ted Lilly, Toronto’s top starter now, allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 5.21. Lilly (7-9) struck out eight and walked two.
“I pitched well,” Lilly said. “Basically, what it comes down to is that I got out-pitched.”
The 29-year-old left-hander was struck on his left hand by Aubrey Huff’s grounder in the fourth, but stayed in the game.
“The prefect execution, that’s what won us the game,” Cantu said.
Hollins added an insurance run in the ninth with his homer off Miguel Batista.
Tampa Bay OF Jonny Gomes arrived late to the afternoon workout, saying he overslept. He’ll be fined. “I think the clubhouse kids in Tampa Bay will be happy,” Piniella said. … Tampa Bay’s Delmon Young, the first pick in the 2004 amateur draft, has been promoted to Triple-A Durham after hitting .336 with a league leading 20 home runs and 71 RBI at Double-A Montgomery of the Southern league. … Toronto 2B Hudson returned to the lineup after missing five games with a tight right hamstring. Hudson went 0-for-3, but made a fine defensive play by barehanding a grounder and throwing out Huff in the fourth.