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Blue Jays win second straight after nine-game skid

May 12, 2007 - 9:23 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Vernon Wells showcased the need for speed.

Wells beat out a chopper and scored from first base on a double by Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning as the Toronto Blue Jays edged the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 5-4, on Saturday.

It was the second straight win for the injury-riddled Blue Jays following a season-high nine-game losing streak.

"It was only a matter of time before we came out of (our slump)," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We've taken a beating a little bit lately on the field and injury-wise. We played a good ballgame today."

Toronto (15-21) is without two of its best pitchers - B.J. Ryan and Roy Halladay - but escaped the American League East Division basement with consecutive wins against the Devil Rays (14-22). Ryan, an All-Star closer, underwent "Tommy John" surgery on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season. Halladay, a Cy Young Award winner in 2003, will be sidelined four to six weeks due to appendicitis.

Brian Stokes (1-5) retired the first two batters in the seventh inning before Wells reached safely on a chopper off home plate. Wells then took off on a full-count pitch, which Overbay lined into the gap in left-center.

"I think Vernon is the best runner in baseball," Toronto third base coach Brian Butterfield said. "When you have a guy with good speed that gives great effort it just makes everybody's job a lot easier. The direction the ball was hit, and Vernon off on the pitch, I knew he was going to be coming hard and expecting to go the extra base."

"As a baserunner you just try to go hard and give (Butterfield) the option of what he wants to do," Wells said. "He made a great call. Obviously you have to get a good jump and just go hard. Butterfield tends to make good decisions on plays like that."

Scott Downs (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings to notch the win. Casey Janssen retired all three batters he faced in the eighth before Jeremy Accardo worked a perfect ninth for his first save.

Carl Crawford hit a two-run homer for the Devil Rays, who are 0-5 on a road trip which ends here Sunday. Tampa Bay was swept in a three-game series at Baltimore.

Crawford singled with two outs in the first inning, stole second and scored on a single by Ty Wigginton to give the Devil Rays a 1-0 lead.

Toronto hit two homers off Edwin Jackson in the third inning. Adam Lind connected on a solo shot to tie the game. After Wells walked and Overbay struck out, Frank Thomas hit his 492nd career blast, giving the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.

"I've been losing my aggression at the plate so today I just tried to be more aggressive and hit the ball hard," Thomas said. "I quit trying to find a perfect pitch and just concentrated on swinging the bat." Thomas needs one homer to tie Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 21st place on the all-time list.

"I don't think about that stuff at all," Thomas added. "I'm just thinking about winning right now."

Carlos Pena homered over the center field wall in the fifth inning to pull the Devil Rays within 3-2.

Tampa Bay took the lead in the sixth, when Brendan Harris singled and Crawford followed with an opposite-field home run over the left field wall. The shot came on a 2-0 offering after pitching coach Brad Arnsberg came to the mound to meet with Dustin McGowan.

"I was just trying to take what the pitcher gives and try not to overswing," Crawford said. "(McGowan) pitched well. He kept the ball down, mixed it up and then their bullpen came in and took over."

The Blue Jays tied the game with a run in the sixth. Jackson hit Thomas with a pitch to start the inning and Aaron Hill reached on a fielder's choice before moving to second on a groundout by Jason Smith.

Royce Clayton then delivered a two-out RBI single to center to even the contest.

Jackson set a career high with nine strikeouts, but also yielded four runs and six hits in six innings. The righthander has not won a game since September 26, 2005, when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I wasn't aware of how many strikeouts I had," Jackson said. "I was just going out there and attacking hitters. I left a fastball out over the plate to Thomas and Lind hit a straight changeup."

McGowan pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.








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

    BATTERIES: TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, BRIAN STOKES (7TH), CHAD ORVELLA (8TH), AL
    REYES (8TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN, SCOTT DOWNS (6TH), CASEY JANSSEN
    (8TH), JEREMY

    May 12 3:43 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 3:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LYLE OVERBAY SCORED VERNON WELLS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L OVERBAY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4
    TORONTO 5 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: F THOMAS (.246, 1-FOR-1, BB, HBP, HR, 2 RBI)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 3:17 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROYCE CLAYTON SCORED AARON HILL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CLAYTON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4
    TORONTO 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: S FASANO (.150, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 2:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARL CRAWFORD (5) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF DUSTIN MCGOWAN SCORED BRENDAN HARRIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4, TORONTO 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: T WIGGINTON (.250, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 2:35 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS PENA (6) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF DUSTIN MCGOWAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2, TORONTO 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D YOUNG (.232, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 2:18 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY FRANK THOMAS (5) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF EDWIN JACKSON SCORED VERNON WELLS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1, TORONTO 3
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A HILL (.284, 1-FOR-1)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 1:56 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM LIND (4) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF EDWIN JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1, TORONTO 1
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: V WELLS (.291, 1-FOR-1)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 1:49 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TAM - EDWIN JACKSON
    TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN

    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A RIOS (.287, 7 HR, 21 RBI)
    A LIND (.242, 3 HR, 11 RBI)
    V WELLS (.286, 4 HR, 17 RBI)

    Rays vs. Blue JaysMay 12 1:13 PM