Devil Rays 6, Blue Jays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—After beating Toronto twice, Carl Crawford gets to rest his wrist.
The All-Star hit a go-ahead, two-run homer during a three-run sixth inning to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 6-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday. He also hit a game-ending, 11th-inning homer in Monday’s 5-4 win.
“As long as I don’t overswing, it doesn’t hurt,” said Crawford, who injured his right wrist diving for a ball Friday against Boston. “It’s doesn’t bother me when I field, but, yes, definitely glad to rest it on the day off.”
Crawford has two homers in his last three games after not hitting one in his previous 42 games. During the three-game series against the Blue Jays, he went 5-for-8 with three RBIs.
“He’s an All-Star,” Toronto Manager John Gibbons said. “He’s got a chance to be an MVP someday. You see guys that are big sluggers. He can do all that, plus that speed and the dimension of his defense. There’s no one better at that, so yeah, we’re tired of looking at him.”
Crawford is 20-for-47 (.426) against Towers with five home runs, his most off any pitcher. Against the Blue Jays this season, Crawford is 21-for-53 (.396) with five homers and 14 RBIs.
“Wow, it’s unbelievable,” Towers said. “The home run was my fault because I know his hot zones, and early in the at-bat he was looking for a pitch to drive in a run. That just shows how good of a hitter he was.”
Towers allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Devil Rays starter Jason Hammel was pulled after feeling tightness in his right shoulder. Hammel, who gave up two runs and three hits in three-plus innings, was replaced by Juan Salas after throwing three pitches to Troy Glaus in the fourth. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Hammel will be examined by team doctors, but the injury is not considered serious.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead on Alex Rios’ RBI single in the first and Matt Stairs’ run-scoring double in the second. Gomes, who has four homers in his last five games, cut the deficit in half with his homer in the third.
Tampa Bay’s maligned and recently revamped bullpen was able to hold the Blue Jays to take the series. Salas, Glover, Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes combined for six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits. Tampa Bay relievers, who entered with a major league-worst 6.65 ERA, gave up just one run and eight hits in 13 1-3 innings during the series.
“When you lose games late like we do, that, more than anything, is the kick in the stomach that bothers you for a couple days,” Maddon said. “When we’ve got the bullpen working, it makes all the difference in the world.”
Toronto DH Frank Thomas was rested and out of the starting lineup for the second straight game. Thomas did pinch hit in the seventh and flied out to center. … Blue Jays RHP A.J. Burnett (right shoulder) felt fine after throwing a four-inning simulated game. … Toronto 1B Lyle Overbay picked up his first stolen base of the season and the 10th of his career in 646 games. … Crawford picked up his 34th stolen base of the season and 14th since July 1. … Devil Rays C Raul Casanova was sent outright to Triple-A Durham. He was designated for assignment Friday.