Zobrist, Shields help Rays end slideJul 19, 2008 - 3:53 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- For the Tampa Bay Rays, ending their seven-game losing streak was really quite simple. They just needed to return home.
Ben Zobrist's two-run homer in the seventh inning rallied the Rays past the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, on Friday night.
James Shields (8-6) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings as the Rays improved to 33-7 in their last 40 home games.
"We've been doing great at home," Shields said. "It's what home-field advantage is about. I think this will turn it around for the second half. It's an advantage, and we play better here."
The only run Shields surrendered was Adam Lind's solo homer in the third.
A.J. Burnett (10-9) escaped jams in the first and second innings and coasted until the seventh.
"Shields went out there and battled me pitch for pitch," Burnett said. "I got that one run, but there's nothing else to say. Just one pitch determined the outcome of the whole game. That was a tough loss for us."
Tampa Bay had recorded only one hit after the third until Zobrist homered on the first pitch from Burnett in the seventh. Burnett walked Eric Hinske with two outs before Zobrist belted his fourth blast this year.
"It felt great," Zobrist said. "Burnett pitched a great game. He was really hard to hit. I was fortunate to get a fastball in the middle of the plate."
Shields won for the fourth time in his last five starts, walking two and striking out four. After J.P. Howell retired two batters in the eighth, Grant Balfour recorded the final four outs for his fourth save of the season.
"I'm going to get fired up out there," Balfour said. "It doesn't matter if the score is 10-1 or 2-1."
Burnett (10-9), who had won four of his previous five, allowed two runs and five hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
"Burnett is tough," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "This guy is good, and they've been playing better. It was all set up for that kind of game, a low-scoring game. Their No. 9 hitter hit a home run, and so did ours."
Toronto threatened in the eighth against Howell. Leadoff hitter Lind reached second on shortstop Zobrist's throwing error and was sacrificed to third, but Marco Scutaro grounded to first for the second out and Balfour struck out Alex Rios to end the inning.
"We were a couple of hits away from scoring more runs," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "We had a chance to tie it, but we didn't do it. We pitched a great game, so we just have to move on."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TORONTO 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 x 2 5 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: TOR - A.J. BURNETT, SCOTT DOWNS (8TH) AND ROD BARAJAS
TAM - JAMES SHIELDS, J.P. HOWELL (8TH), GRANT BALFOUR
(8TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
HOME RUNS: TOR - ADAM LIND (4
Jul 18 9:37 PM
AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY BEN ZOBRIST (4) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
THE 7TH OFF A.J. BURNETT SCORED ERIC HINSKE.
CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1, TAMPA BAY 2
DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.272, 1-FOR-3)
Blue Jays 1, Rays 2 Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 18 9:07 PM
AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM LIND (4) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
3RD OFF JAMES SHIELDS.
CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1, TAMPA BAY 0
DUE UP FOR TORONTO: J INGLETT (.299, 0-FOR-1)
Blue Jays 1, Rays 0 Top 3, 0 OutsJul 18 7:56 PM
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