Purcey dominates Rays, leads Toronto to eighth straight winSep 7, 2008 - 10:25 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- This time, David Purcey got the better of Matt Garza.
Eleven days after Purcey suffered a heartbreaking loss to Garza and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Toronto Blue Jays' rookie lefthander reversed the trend on Sunday, shutting down the Rays for a 1-0 victory.
It was the Blue Jays' season-high eighth win in a row, marking the franchise's longest winning streak since April 14-22, 1999.
"We're playing great," Toronto catcher Rod Barajas said. "This is a team that has a lot of talent, a lot of ability. We just haven't been able to find that consistency that we'd like. For us to come out here and play the way we did against two pretty good ballclubs, it was a lot of fun."
The Rays, on the other hand, have now dropped five of their last six as their grasp on the American League East grows more and more tenuous.
The loss by Tampa Bay (85-56) cuts its divisional lead to 1 1/2 games over the Boston Red Sox (84-58), who won Sunday, 7-2, at Texas.
"We know what we've got to do and we know what (the Red Sox) have got to do," Garza said. "Right now, we're on top and they're chasing us. If we keep playing our ball, this thing will turn around. We're in a little bit of a rut, losing five out of six. It's nothing bad, we'll turn it around. We've still got a whole month."
The last time he saw the Rays, Purcey (3-5) was the hard-luck 1-0 loser despite striking out 11 and giving up just one run in eight innings - his only mistake being a solo home run to Carlos Pena as Garza came out on top in the pitchers' duel. The Tampa Bay righthander was effective once again on Sunday, giving up only Rob Barajas' sacrifice fly over seven strong innings. But that was just enough to hand Garza (11-9) the loss.
"It's the kind of game you want to pitch in," Purcey said. "He's a good pitcher. We traded off, he got a 1-0 win and I got a 1-0 win. That's great. When the game's on the line, it's the most fun."
In three previous starts against Toronto this season, Garza had given up just one run, including a five-hit shutout on July 29.
Purcey recovered from an awful start in his previous outing, in which he went lasted just three innings - giving up five runs and seven hits - in Tuesday's meeting with the Minnesota Twins.
His biggest spot of trouble came in the eighth, as he walked Pena to load the bases with two outs. However, he got Rocco Baldelli to fly out weakly to left field to end the threat.
"He's locating and making pitches when he needs to," Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said. "We got a couple of hits and he kept us from stringing hits together. We get a hit here, a hit there. He did a great job of keeping us off the bases today."
After Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan gave up three runs in the ninth inning on Saturday, fellow southpaw Jesse Carlson took the hill in the ninth on Sunday. He sent down the Rays in order to pick up his second save of the season.
B.J. Upton had three hits for the Rays, but was caught stealing by Purcey in the fourth when he took off for second just a shade too early. Willy Aybar was also picked off of first base by Barajas after singling in the second inning.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2
TORONTO 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 1 6 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: TAM - MATT GARZA, DAN WHEELER (8TH) AND SHAWN RIGGANS
TOR - DAVID PURCEY, JESSE CARLSON (9TH) AND ROD BARAJAS
HOME RUNS: TAM - NONE
TOR - NONE
Sep 7 3:46 PM
AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
SACRIFICE FLY BY ROD BARAJAS SCORED ADAM LIND.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
TORONTO 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
DUE UP FOR TORONTO: S ROLEN (.249, 8 HR, 40 RBI)
Rays 0, Blue Jays 1 Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 7 1:34 PM
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