Devil Rays 2, Blue Jays 1
TORONTO (AP)—Shaun Marcum pitched six hitless innings and came out of the game. Once Marcum was gone, Tampa Bay’s offense started up.
Carlos Pena got the Devil Rays’ first hit with a tiebreaking home run off Jason Frasor in the seventh inning, and Tampa Bay beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Sunday to stop a season-high, six-game losing streak.
Making his first start this year after 13 relief appearances, Marcum struck out seven and walked three, leaving after 78 pitches. He was starting because Victor Zambrano has a strained forearm.
“Marcum was perfect,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He actually went a little bit further than we anticipated. He was rolling along. It’s tough to lose a ballgame like that. They held us in check, too.”
Gibbons intended to limit Marcum to 70 pitches and never considered sending him back out for the seventh.
“I can’t do that,” Gibbons said. “You can’t. He’s definitely not going to be able to go nine. That would be abuse. Many guys come up lame that way. He gave us everything we needed and more.”
Marcum, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 3-4 in 14 starts with Toronto last season. He walked Pena in the second and gave up back-to-back walks to Rocco Baldelli and Brendan Harris in the sixth before ending the inning by striking out Carl Crawford.
“I didn’t figure I’d get tired as soon as I did,” Marcum said. “There was a lot of adrenaline early in the game.”
“He was pitching great,” Pena said of Marcum. “He was spotting his pitches and he was throwing that offspeed for strikes. I was kind of surprised they took him out.”
“You want to do it so bad that it kind of takes you out of your focus,” Pena said. “I was just trying to relax and see the ball and look what happened. It felt very good to hit the ball hard the other way, and to put our team ahead feels even better.”
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon praised Pena for taking Frasor’s pitch the other way.
“You can see he’s got enormous power to all fields, Maddon said. “He’s unusual with the kind of power he has to all fields.”
Pena was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, getting a run-scoring infield single off Brian Tallet with two outs in the ninth.
On a day when each team had only three hits, Jae Seo (2-3) was nearly as sharp as Marcum, giving up two hits and striking out a season-high seven in seven innings to win for the first time in four starts. Seo, who made his 100th major league start, didn’t allow a hit until Royce Clayton’s two-out double in the fifth.
“He has that kind of game in him and he brought it today out when we really needed it,” Maddon said. “He made better pitches in better spots and the results were good.”
Seo, who gave up five runs over three innings in his prior start, used a simpler approach this time.
“I’m just pitching, you know,” Seo said. “I’m keeping the ball down and just throwing. The last game there was too much thinking. Today it was just throwing.”
Brian Stokes worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Al Reyes finished for his 11th save in as many chances, allowing Matt Stairs’ first homer. Reyes hadn’t allowed a run since April 23, when the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez homered off him.
Tampa Bay won the finale of a six-game trip. … Troy Glaus (sore left heel) missed his second straight game but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Glaus is making progress. Roberts started at third, batted ninth and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. … Several players from both teams used pink bats and wore pink wrist bands to mark a breast cancer awareness promotion on Mother’s Day.