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Thomas' grand slam leads Blue Jays over Devil Rays

Apr 8, 2007 - 5:08 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Frank Thomas gave the Toronto Blue Jays an early return on their offseason investment, and helped them rebound from a tough loss.

Thomas hit a second-inning grand slam and the Blue Jays held on for an 8-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the middle game of a three-game series.

The designated hitter blasted a pitch from Devil Rays starter Casey Fossum over the left field wall with two outs, plating Jason Phillips, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay for a 6-1 lead. Thomas, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract in the offseason, is just 12 home runs shy of 500 for his career.

Thomas' home run provided enough cushion for the Blue Jays, who rebounded from a 6-5 loss in which Tampa Bay scored twice in the ninth off closer B.J. Ryan.

"We needed this one after that (6-5) loss last night," Thomas said. "I'm not thinking of 500 (home runs), not at all. My goal is 600. I've got my focus on somewhere else."

The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a sacrifice fly from Wells and ground out by Troy Glaus.

Carl Crawford hit a lead off homer his first of the year - in the first inning to cut the lead to 2-1.

Tomo Ohka, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract, labored in his Toronto debut and received a no-decision.

The righthander allowed five runs and six hits, including two home runs, in just 4 1/3 innings. Ohka surrendered a three-run homer to Brendan Harris in the fourth that made the score 7-4.

"The ball was up," Ohka said

B. J. Upton scored on a wild pitch in the Devil Rays' four-run fourth inning that cut the lead to 7-5.

Ohka then allowed a pair of one-out singles to Ty Wigginton and Delmon Young and was relieved by Scott Downs, who walked Akinori Awamura to load the bases. Shaun Marcum entered a dicey situation, but came through in the clutch.

Marcum (1-0) struck out Harris to end the inning and had a career-high five strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.

"I like to come in the pressure situations," Marcum said. "The strikeouts were nice, but it was more important we won." Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless eighth and closer B.J. Ryan worked a perfect ninth to redeem himself after blowing the save on Friday.

"It was one of those games," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We had a nice comfortable lead and it got away. But then the bullpen stepped up." Fossum (0-1), who missed the last month of 2006 due to shoulder surgery, lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs and eight hits.

"Obviously not the way I wanted to start off," Fossum said. "Felt like I never got in a rhythm."

"Fossum didn't have his best control overall," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought physically he was fine.

Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus left the game in the fifth inning with a left Achilles injury, according to Gibbons.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 12 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 7 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - TOMO OHKA, SCOTT DOWNS (5TH), SHAUN MARCUM (5TH), JASON FRASOR
    (8TH), B.J. RYAN (9TH) AND JASON PHILLIPS, GREGG ZAUN (9TH)
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM, GARY GLOVER (4T

    Apr 7 10:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROYCE CLAYTON SCORED ALEX RIOS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CLAYTON ON FIRST, G ZAUN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 8
    TAMPA BAY 5 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: R JOHNSON (.333, 3-FOR-4, HBP, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 10:16 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 4 0 1 0 0 0 7 9 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 0 4 0 0 5 6 1 (BOT 7)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - SHAUN MARCUM
    TAM - SHAWN CAMP

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.091, 0-FOR-3)
    T WIGGINTON (.286, 1-FOR-3)
    D YOUNG (.313, 2-FOR-3)

    Apr 7 9:35 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 4 0 1 7 8 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 0 4 5 4 1 (TOP 5)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - TOMO OHKA
    TAM - GARY GLOVER

    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A RIOS (.250, 0-FOR-2)
    A HILL (.286, 0-FOR-2)
    J PHILLIPS (1.000, 2-FOR-2)

    Apr 7 8:35 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY TOMO OHKA ALLOWED B.J. UPTON TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, C CRAWFORD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7
    TAMPA BAY 5 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 8:34 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY BRENDAN HARRIS (1) TO RIGHT WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF TOMO OHKA SCORED DELMON YOUNG AND AKINORI
    IWAMURA.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7, TAMPA BAY 4
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.462, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 8:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY REED JOHNSON SCORED ROYCE CLAYTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R JOHNSON ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.357, 1-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 8:12 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 4 6 5 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 1 1 (BOT 2)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - TOMO OHKA
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.636, 1 HR, 1 RBI)
    D NAVARRO (.143, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    B HARRIS (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Apr 7 7:48 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY FRANK THOMAS (1) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF CASEY FOSSUM SCORED JASON PHILLIPS, LYLE OVERBAY AND VERNON
    WELLS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 6, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: T GLAUS (.333, 0-FOR-1, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 7:46 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY
    CONFIRMED STARTERS: TOR - TOMO OHKA
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 7:28 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 2 2 2 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 1 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TOR - TOMO OHKA
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI)
    C PENA (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    R BALDELLI (.125, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. RaysApr 7 7:26 PM