<
>

Sanchez hits second homer of season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Rey Sanchez makes the most out of
his rare home runs.

Sanchez hit his first conventional homer in more than two years,
and Dewon Brazelton threw five shutout innings to lead the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays past the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Sanchez's second homer of the season -- a three-run shot -- came
during a five-run, fourth inning that gave the Devil Rays a 5-0
lead. It was Sanchez's 15th career homer in his 4,684th at-bat, and
his first into the stands since April 30, 2002, at Boston.

"I'm going to tell you, don't expect anymore," Sanchez said
jokingly. "That was it."

He went 745 at-bats without a homer before hitting an
inside-the-park, walk-off home run June 11 in an 8-7, 10-inning win
over Colorado.

"We said coming into the season that we needed contributions
from everywhere," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "I know
the three-run homer from Sanchez was a huge one. That's what we
need, everybody contributes some. We've been doing that."

Brazelton (2-0) gave up five hits, two walks and struck out two
in his first start since taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning
of his previous start, a 2-0 win over Florida last Friday.

"I think it was important, not because of what I did last week,
to come out there and be consistent," Brazelton said.

Jose Cruz Jr. also homered for the Devil Rays (38-37), who went
back over the .500 mark. Tampa Bay became the first major league
team last Saturday to climb above .500 at any point in the season
after being 18 games below .500.

"We're having fun," Sanchez said. "Everybody is doing the
job. That's why we're playing so well."

This the latest in a season Tampa Bay has been above .500. The
Devil Rays are a major league-best 28-9 since May 20.

"This a great run," Cruz said. "It's just a whole team
effort."

Eric Hinske ruined the shutout bid with a two-run double with
two outs in the ninth off Trever Miller, who replaced Lance Carter.
Carter was forced to leave with a bruised left knee after taking
Reed Johnson's hard liner off his leg.

Precautionary X-rays on Carter were negative. He is day to day.

"We don't think it's anything serious," Piniella said. "He
got hit pretty good, though."

The Devil Rays scored five times against Josh Towers (2-3) in
the fourth. Robert Fick had a run-scoring groundout and Toby Hall
hit an RBI single before Sanchez made it 5-0 with his three-run
shot to center.

"That pitch was so bad ... he couldn't help but hit that ball
over the fence," Towers said of his hanging slider to Sanchez.
"It was a very, very bad pitch."

Cruz gave the Devil Rays a 6-0 lead with a solo homer off Towers
in the fifth. It was just his second hit -- both homers -- in 21
at-bats.

The Blue Jays (34-44) had runners on second and third with one
out in the fifth, but failed to score. Brazelton retired Johnson on
foul popup and then struck out Hinske.

"The guys are playing hard," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca
said. "That's all you can ask of them. We're banged up and we're
not at full force, but we're getting the effort. We've just got to
grind and hope you don't get too far behind the .500 mark."

Towers allowed six runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings. He gave up
two runs and 11 hits over 14 innings in his previous two starts.

Game notes
Blue Jays 1B Carlos Delgado (ribs) went 0-for-5 in a
rehabilitation start for Class A Dunedin on Wednesday. Tosca said
Delgado will take batting practice with the Blue Jays on Thursday
and might be ready to play when Toronto opens a series against
Montreal Friday in Puerto Rico. "Hopefully, maybe we can do
something on Friday," Tosca said. "He must have felt fine if he
had all five at-bats." Delgado has been sidelined since May 30.
... Brazelton hasn't allowed a homer in 26 1-3 innings this season.
... The Blue Jays were looking to win consecutive road games for
just the third time this year. ... Cruz is 8-for-12 with three
homers against Towers.