Shields stops 10-game home winless streak
Eight straight Tampa Bay batters reached base to start a six-run third inning that helped Shields and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4 Friday night.
“Today was a pretty important game for me, I hit 200 innings and that’s one of the goals I reached,” said Shields, who has thrown 200 or more innings in three straight seasons. “And got a ‘W’ finally. It’s good to get that off my back and hopefully I can finish up strong.”
Shields (10-11) had been 0-5 in his previous 10 starts at Tropicana Field since beating Kansas City 3-2 on June 4. He gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings.
“It’s almost like I’m getting stronger towards the end here, which is a good thing,” Shields said.
“He’s been having trouble with his location for a while,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “Tonight was bad location. No control with his fastball.”
Tampa Bay (75-73) has won two in a row for the first time since beating the Blue Jays on Aug. 24-25.
“We’re rollin’ now,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said with a smile.
Lind has 104 RBIs this season, including 30 over the last 29 games. Wells has an 11-game hitting streak, and moved past Tony Fernandez into second place on the Toronto career list with 292 doubles.
Richmond, 0-5 in eight starts since returning from a biceps injury on July 31, allowed five runs and seven hits over two-plus innings.
Crawford tied his career high with his 59th stolen base when he took second in the eighth before scoring on Longoria’s two-run homer. Longoria has driven in 107 runs this season.
“Just let it go,” Gaston said of Crawford’s late stolen base in a five-run game. “He (Maddon) runs his team the way he wants to. I run my the way I want to.”
Crawford had no second thoughts about the play.
“I just want ahead and stole the base,” Crawford said. “I’ve seen worse. I didn’t really think it was a big deal.”
Tampa Bay’s bullpen, which worked the final three innings, has struggled recently, going 2-12 with nine blown saves in 13 opportunities over the past 39 games.
NOTES: Tampa Bay is 12-4 against the Blue Jays this season. … Rays LHP Darin Downs was one of the players honored as a Tampa Bay minor league MVP. Downs, struck in the head by liner while pitching for Double-A Montgomery on Aug. 17, is expected to be ready for the 2010 season. … Blue Jays LHP Brian Tallet(notes) (bruised right foot) might miss his next start Tuesday. … Toronto reliever Scott Downs(notes) has a hamstring injury and is day to day.