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Marcum, homers push Blue Jays into second place

Sep 26, 2006 - 1:57 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Shaun Marcum was all the Toronto Blue Jays needed to overtake the Boston Red Sox for second place.

Marcum carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Alex Rios and Bengie Molina homered as the Blue Jays posted a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox.

The righthanded Marcum (3-4) allowed just two hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters in eight innings to help Toronto (83-73) move one-half game ahead of Boston for second place in the American League East Division. It is the first time the Blue Jays have been in second since April 29.

"We wanted to pull into second place," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We definitely gave the hometown fans something to cheer about this year."

Jason Frasor pitched a perfect ninth for Toronto, which concluded its final homestand of the season with seven wins in 10 games.

Marcum lost his no-hit bid when Alex Cora reached on an infield single to the left of second base with one out in the sixth. The 24-year-old threw a career-high 113 pitches - 74 for strikes - to improve to 3-0 at home this season.

"It was a lot of fun," Marcum said. "I just wanted to locate pitches and keep the ball down. I knew I had it today warming up. I didn't miss too many spots in the bullpen."

Boston starter Tim Wakefield (7-11) also flirted with his own no-hitter before allowing Jason Phillips' one-out double in the fifth. Russ Adams walked before Rios belted his 19th homer over the left field wall to give Toronto a 3-0 lead.

"His knuckle was still knuckling, I just got good wood on it," Rios said. "I knew what I was looking for after I saw him a couple of times."

One frame later, Lyle Overbay singled off Wakefield to extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Molina then hit a 1-0 pitch into the left field seats for his 18th blast of the season and a 5-0 edge.

"It's always good for the fans to finish (at home) on a happy note," Molina said. "My hit was nice but the win was better."

"Being in second (place) is something we can build on," Overbay said. "We just have to play more consistent on the road next season."

The 40-year-old Wakefield surrendered five runs and five hits in six innings. He is 0-3 since returning from a rib-cage injury on September 13.

"I thought I had pretty good stuff," Wakefield said. "I made a bad pitch, first pitch (to Rios) and Molina hit a mistake, too. It's just one of those nights you'd like to have back."






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