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Jackson, Floyd help Rays edge Blue Jays

Aug 29, 2008 - 3:20 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Rays continue to hum along and, in the process, clinched a .500 season for the first time in franchise history.

Edwin Jackson won for the sixth time in his last seven starts and Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar each homered as the Rays edged the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, on Thursday.

The Rays won two of the three games against the Blue Jays, improving to 11-0-1 in series since the All-Star break.

The win helped Tampa Bay (81-51) open a 4 1/2-game lead atop the American League East over the Boston Red Sox (77-56), who lost earlier in the day to the New York Yankees. The Rays, who also own the best record in the AL, already have 11 more wins than the franchise's season record - with 30 games remaining.

"We're going out there with the mentality to win every game anyway," Jackson said. "We just have to go out and concentrate."

Jackson (11-8) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out two.

"EJ was very good," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I like when he goes out there and is aggressive early in the game. It's getting contagious among the guys."

Since surrendering a season-high six runs on July 20 against Toronto, Jackson has yielded more than two runs only once in seven starts, lowering his ERA from 4.25 to 3.81.

"I'm staying aggressive," Jackson said. "I haven't done anything different since the first game of the season. My confidence is no higher than it's been at any time I've been in Tampa Bay."

After three relievers combined for three outs in the eighth, Dan Wheeler worked the ninth for his second save in as many nights and 10th of the season.

"Danny filling in for (Troy Percival) has been fantastic," Maddon said. "He really comes after guys."

Floyd plated a run in the first with a sacrifice fly and belted a solo homer in the third. Aybar added a solo shot in the sixth, giving Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.



"We got shut down a bit, but we scored a couple of runs," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "I would say that we did have one situation with men on first and third and we couldn't punch that run across.

"They have a good pitching staff over there and they'll shut you down. The guys came back and battled a bit, but it was just a little too late."

The Blue Jays closed within one in the eighth on Adam Lind's RBI infield single and Rod Barajas' run-scoring double. However, Barajas was stranded when Grant Balfour struck out Jose Bautista to end the inning.

"Pitching and defense will bring you a long way," Rays catcher Shawn Riggans said.

Jesse Litsch (9-8) allowed three runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He had not yielded an earned run in two starts - 13 innings - since returning from the minors on August 14.

"I made a couple of mistakes and they kind of hit them over the fence," Litsch said. "Those are solo home runs and they are going to beat you, not all the time, but tonight they beat me."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 8 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 x 3 10 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - JESSE LITSCH, BRIAN TALLET (7TH), JASON FRASOR (8TH) AND ROD
    BARAJAS, GREGG ZAUN (8TH)
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, CHAD BRADFORD (8TH), TREVER MILLER
    (8TH), GRANT B

    Aug 28 10:00 PM
  • 50
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays 2, Rays 3  Top 9, 0 OutsAug 28 9:59 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ROD BARAJAS SCORED ADAM LIND.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R BARAJAS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    TAMPA BAY 3 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: J BAUTISTA (.000, 0-FOR-3)

    Blue Jays 2, Rays 3  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 28 9:41 PM
  • 45
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jays 2, Rays 3  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 28 9:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY WILLY AYBAR (8) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF JESSE LITSCH.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E HINSKE (.256, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 0, Rays 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 28 8:57 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 10 roots

    Blue Jays 0, Rays 2  Top 5, 0 OutsAug 28 8:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CLIFF FLOYD (10) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF JESSE LITSCH.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: W AYBAR (.242, 1-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 0, Rays 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 28 8:07 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CLIFF FLOYD SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B UPTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: W AYBAR (.238, 7 HR, 20 RBI)

    Blue Jays 0, Rays 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 28 7:24 PM