ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Towers felt as if he got away
He won his fourth straight start with seven innings of two-hit
ball, and Josh Phelps homered twice to help the Toronto Blue Jays
beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-0 Friday night."Not even close," Towers said when asked if he pitched as well
his pitching line. "And I feel bad for saying that because I don't
know if it's going to upset them. But I felt like I got away with
so many pitches the whole game.""I really thought that I didn't throw the ball well, and that I
got lucky."Towers (6-3) walked just one and struck out four before Vinnie
Chulk worked a hitless eighth and Jason Frasor pitched the ninth
for his 13th save in 14 opportunities, holding the Devil Rays to
two hits for the second time this season."We just didn't hit the ball," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella
said. "We didn't swing the bats. Didn't score runs. That's all.
That's the story of the ballgame. Give their pitcher credit."Phelps hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot two
innings later off starter John Halama. He is 4-for-8 with three
homers against the left-hander."They both made it just far enough, so I'm happy," Phelps
said.Halama (5-5) allowed three runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings.
It was his first outing since giving up nine runs over 3 2-3
innings in a 12-2 loss July 21 at Minnesota."You got to give credit to Josh Towers," Halama said. "He
went out there and shut us out."Phelps' first homer snapped Tampa Bay's streak of not allowing
an earned run in 23 innings. The Devil Rays were coming off a
three-game sweep of Kansas City in which they outscored the Royals
18-3.Towers retired 14 straight after giving up a one-out single to
Rocco Baldelli in the first. Rey Sanchez ended the streak when he
reached on a two-base throwing error by shortstop Chris Gomez
leading off the sixth.Sanchez went to third on Geoff Blum's fly, but was left stranded
when Carl Crawford struck out and Baldelli was retired on a
grounder."Just his body language and everything else is one of
aggressiveness," Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. "Just 'Here
it is ... let's see what you got.' That's the way he's pitching
right now."Crawford helped keep the game close with a leaping catch at the
wall in left field to take away an extra-base hit from Kevin Cash
in the seventh.Jose Cruz Jr. drew a rare walk off Towers with two outs in the
bottom of the seventh and went to third on Julio Lugo's single. The
Devil Rays failed to score when second baseman Frank Menechino made
a leaping catch on Toby Hall's soft liner."Awesome ... I thought that was the biggest play of the game,"
Towers said. "I hung a slider and Toby jammed himself. That was a
huge play."Towers has walked just two in his last 27 2-3 innings.
The Devil Rays traded RHP Victor Zambrano and minor league
RHP Bartolome Fortunato to the New York Mets for highly touted
minor league LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jose Diaz. Kazmir, who could
join the Devil Rays in September, and Diaz were assigned to
Double-A Montgomery. ... The White Sox held Tampa Bay to two hits
on April 18. ... Phelps has 24 RBI in his last 17 games. It was
his second multihomer game this season and fourth overall. ...
Toronto has won five straight against the Devil Rays. ... Tampa Bay
signed its second round pick -- 3B Reid Brignac -- from June's draft.
He will join rookie league Princeton (W.Va.) Saturday.