Devil Rays 1, Blue Jays 0
TORONTO (AP)—Scott Kazmir keeps getting better.
Acquired before last year’s trade deadline from the New York Mets, Kazmir leads the Devil Rays with a 4.02 ERA, 149 strikeouts and 162 1-3 innings. The left-hander is tied with Mark Hendrickson and Casey Fossum for the most wins.
“He’s 21, he’s a little inconsistent at times, but from the pitcher that we brought up last September to the pitcher that we have here this September, there is a whole lot of improvement,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.
“From his stuff to posture and presence, the whole thing has improved and that’s what you want to see in a young pitcher.”
Kazmir (8-9) allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked one in seven innings. He escaped a jam in the first, when he put the first two runners on.
“It set the tone,” Kazmir said. “To get out of that is a big confidence booster.”
He was 0-4 with a 6.04 in four career starts against Toronto before Sunday.
“The first few times against them I was nibbling a little bit, not worrying about getting ahead,” Kazmir said. “I was trying to make the perfect pitch.”
Joe Borowski pitched the eighth and Danys Baez finished for his 33rd save in 40 chances as the Devil Rays recorded their third shutout of the season. Tampa Bay still doesn’t have a complete game this season.
“Kazmir didn’t make too many mistakes, and when he did we didn’t do much,” Adams said. “He’s a good young pitcher. He’s going to be good for a long time.”
Toby Hall drove in the lone run with a sacrifice fly in the second. Tampa Bay has won two straight after losing five in a row.
The Blue Jays managed just two hits in Saturday’s loss and have dropped 12 of their last 16. Toronto has been shut out 11 times, tied with Oakland for most in the AL.
“When it goes bad it seems like it goes bad for everybody,” Adams said. “I don’t know what the key is going to be to get out of it.”
Bush allowed one run on six hits, while striking out five and walking none in seven-plus innings.
Florida manager Jack McKeon won his 1,000th major league game on Saturday. Piniella played on the Kansas City Royals when McKeon won his first on April, 7, 1973. “I didn’t play that well that year,” said Piniella, who hit .250 that season. “I held out that spring. I missed most of spring training and didn’t recover. I don’t think Jack was totally enthralled with me.” The Royals traded Piniella to New York after the season. “It worked out great,” he said. … Toronto DH Frank Menechino left the game after the second after being plunked on his left leg by a pitch in the second. … Tampa Bay OF Aubrey Huff left the team on Sunday because of personal reasons. He’ll rejoin them in New York on Tuesday. The Devil Rays have Monday off. … Kazmir rebounded from back-to-back poor outings. He lasted 5 2-3 innings in his last start and just 2 1-3 in the one before that.