Devil Rays 9, Blue Jays 8

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TORONTO (AP)—The Tampa Bay Devil Rays kept fighting after falling behind by six runs and losing one of their best players to injury.

Jonny Gomes hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Devil Rays rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-8 on Friday night.

Jorge Cantu left with a bruise in the fifth after a fouling a ball off his left foot. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Cantu won’t play Saturday and is day to day.

“It hurts. I can’t even walk now,” Cantu said.

Ty Wigginton, Travis Lee and Damon Hollins also homered for the Devil Rays, who tied a team record for the largest deficit overcome—done three times previously.

“Our confidence has been high since we started,” Gomes said. “We’re hot right now. A couple of guys are down. Cantu went down, and we’ve still got to get Rocco Baldelli and Julio Lugo back, so we just have to hang in there.”

Toronto’s Reed Johnson tied a major league mark by getting hit by a pitch three times. Gomes was the last big leaguer to get hit three times on Aug. 15 against the New York Yankees.

Johnson also was plunked three times on April 16, 2005, at Texas.

Fossum hit 18 batters with pitches last year, and Johnson was nailed 16 times.

“That’s a pretty good matchup with those two,” Maddon joked.

Vernon Wells homered twice, and Troy Glaus and Alex Rios also connected for the Blue Jays. Despite all the big offseason additions to Toronto’s roster, attendance was just 15,631.

With Tampa Bay down 6-0 in the fifth, Lee hit a two-run shot off Scott Downs and Carl Crawford hit an RBI single.

Wigginton hit a tying, three-run homer off Vinnie Chulk in the sixth and Gomes had a two-run drive off Pete Walker (0-1) in the seventh, giving Tampa Bay an 8-6 lead.

“We’re not going to panic,” Chuck said, referring to a Blue Jays bullpen that has allowed six homers in four games.

Wells cut it to 8-7 in the bottom half with a solo shot off Scott Dunn (1-0), who pitched 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win.

He said he would call his parents, Bruce and Toni, in San Antonio.

“He’s in charge of keeping her calm,” said Dunn, claimed off waivers from the Angels earlier this week.

Dan Miceli got four outs for his first save. He got Rios to fly out to end the eighth with the potential tying run on third.

Hollins added an insurance run with a solo shot off Jason Frasor in the ninth, but Wells led off the bottom half with a homer off Miceli to cut it to 9-8.

Miceli then got Shea Hillenbrand to ground into a game-ending double play.

“That’s a big league save right there,” Maddon said.

Tampa Bay starter Casey Fossum hit the first batter he faced—Johnson— with a pitch before Rios homered. Wells followed with a single and scored on Lyle Overbay’s RBI single, giving Toronto a 3-0 lead.

Fossum plunked Johnson again in the third before Wells singled and Glaus homered into Rogers Centre’s Windows restaurant in center field, making it 6-0.

Downs replaced an injured A.J. Burnett in the rotation and allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. Burnett—out with a sore elbow—made a rehabilitation start Thursday and is expected to return to the rotation within a week and a half.


Rios is 5-for-13 this season with two homers and three RBIs. The Blue Jays are using a platoon in right with Rios facing left-handers and Eric Hinske playing against right-handers. … Toronto has allowed nine home runs in four games.

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