Devil Rays 4, Blue Jays 1

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—The Tampa Bay Devil Rays found a way to reward Seth McClung for a strong pitching performance.

Scoring on a balk, a wild pitch, some alert baserunning and a check swing that produced an RBI grounder, the Devil Rays held off the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Friday night to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.

“They’re disruptive,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “When they get on base, they’ve got some guys that can run.”

Jonny Gomes and Julio Lugo drove in runs off rookie right-hander Casey Janssen (1-3), who also hurt his chances by allowing one runner to score from third on a balk and another to race home on a wild pitch.

McClung (2-4) gave up a third-inning RBI single to Vernon Wells, but was barely threatened after that. The right-hander allowed six hits, struck out six and walked one while allowing two or fewer runs for the fourth straight start.

“When you don’t have runners on base, giving up little hits here and there doesn’t really hurt you,” McClung said. “It’s just a matter of time for me, putting something together.”

The Devil Rays, coming off a 3-3 road trip in which they won the series finale at Seattle on Wednesday, had not won consecutive games since sweeping Kansas City April 14-16 at Tropicana Field.

McClung had not won since beating the Royals in the middle game of that series.

“It is nice to win, but this is a team game and I’m more concerned with the team’s wins and losses,” McClung said.

Ruddy Lugo pitched the eighth for Tampa Bay, and Tyler Walker worked the ninth for his fifth save in six opportunities. With runners at the corners, he got pinch-hitter Eric Hinske to ground into a game-ending double play.

Janssen got his first major league victory last Sunday, limiting the Los Angeles Angels to one hit in 7 1-3 scoreless innings. The Devil Rays did more damage in the first alone, beginning the inning with a single and double and scoring on Gomes’ RBI grounder and a two-out balk.

The Blue Jays got one of the runs back in the third when Alex Rios drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on Wells’ RBI single. McClung held the Blue Jays to two hits after that—Shea Hillenbrand’s single in the fourth and Lyle Overbay’s single in the sixth—and Rios finished 0-for-3 to end his career-high 12-game hitting streak.

Tampa Bay pulled away in the fifth when Lugo doubled to drive in Joey Gathright, who scored from first base with help from Rios, who fielded the ball in the right-field corner and relayed it to the wrong cutoff man.

Lugo went to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch by Janssen, who allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

“It’s kind of frustrating when they didn’t really earn the four runs,” Janssen said. “Kind of feel like we gave them a few and I gave them a few.”


In the sixth inning, Gomes hit a ball onto one of the catwalks that support the roof at Tropicana Field. He was circling the bases thinking he had hit a home run, but patient Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald settled under the catwalk and waited until the ball rolled off before making the catch for an out. … Gibbons and hitting coach Mickey Brantley were ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Bill Welke. … Wells was 1-for-12 lifetime against McClung before his RBI single. … When Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir beat Seattle 1-0 on Wednesday, he became the youngest pitcher to have five wins by May 10 since Atlanta’s John Smoltz in 1989. The left-hander is 22 years, 3 months old. … Tampa Bay 1B Travis Lee is hitless in his last 29 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-24 this season. … The Devil Rays improved to 7-8 at home. They’re 8-13 on the road, matching their total number of road wins for the entire first half last season.

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