Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 4

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TORONTO (AP)—Before Tampa Bay’s series against Toronto, Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella held a team meeting where he urged his players to have some pride after they went a major league-worst 28-61 in the first half.

It worked.

Jorge Cantu hit a go-ahead double in the ninth inning and the Devil Rays rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. Tampa Bay took three of four from Toronto.

“We’re here to start over again in the second half and we’re doing it,” Cantu said. “Everybody understands what Lou wants. We’ve been doing it in the past, but not to the max.”

Down 4-1 in the eighth, the Devil Rays rallied with three runs on Aubrey Huff’s RBI grounder off Scott Schoeneweis and Toby Hall’s two-run double down the left-field line off Miguel Batista (4-3).

Jonny Gomes scored the tying run after plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled Gomes beat catcher Gregg Zaun’s tag. An incensed Zaun slammed his mask to the turf, prompting his ejection. Toronto manager John Gibbons ran from he dugout, threw his hat to the turf and was also ejected.

“There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we got him,” Zaun said. “The play was in front of me. He missed the call.”

Gomes said it could have gone either way.

“If I got called out I’m sure we would have been arguing,” said Gomes, who joked that he was impressed by Zaun’s reaction to the call. “That was a good spike. That wasn’t MLB, that was definitely an NFL spike.”

Tampa Bay’s Julio Lugo turned a single into double with aggressive baserunning in the ninth before Cantu doubled off the center-field wall off Batista to give Tampa Bay the lead.

The Devil Rays then loaded the bases, but left fielder Reed Johnson ended the threat by robbing Eduardo Perez of extra bases with a spectacular diving catch in left-center.

“Our kids didn’t show any quit at all,” Piniella said. “It was one of our better wins this year. These kids are playing with some intensity. When you start tasting winning, you enjoy it. We certainly have to be pleased winning three out of four in Toronto.”

Chad Orvella (1-1) pitched two innings for the win, and Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

Zaun homered for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of six since ace Roy Halladay broke a bone in his lower left leg. Halladay is expected to miss four to six weeks.

“We’re doing all we can right now, but it doesn’t seem to be enough,” Zaun said. “It’s frustrating.”

Zaun hit his two-run homer off Tampa Bay starter Seth McClung in the second.

Lugo led off the fourth with a homer off Toronto starter Pete Walker.

Toronto took a 4-1 lead in the seventh after Tampa Bay committed two errors. Alex Rios led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on Eric Hinske’s single. Orlando Hudson followed with a grounder to second baseman Fernando Cortez, who allowed the ball to tick off his glove for an error. Lugo, the shortstop, picked up the ball and tried to get Rios at home, but his throw sailed to the backstop allowing Hinske to score Toronto’s fourth run.


Toronto 3B Corey Koskie will spend a week on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse starting Monday. Koskie is recovering from a broken right thumb and ligament tear he suffered in a game on May 19. … Piniella will be in Boston on Monday for the first time since he and Curt Schilling traded insults through the media. On April 24 the Red Sox and Devil Rays had two-bench clearing scuffles and six ejections. The teams have had trouble in the past, too. … 2B Cortez singled in the seventh for his first major league hit.

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