ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Towers gave Toronto another
Towers threw six effective innings, Corey Koskie homered and the
Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-2 on Friday night.Towers (11-10) gave up two runs and nine hits. He has lasted six
innings or more in 10 straight starts, going 5-2 with a 2.41 ERA."I liked the way we played today," Towers said. "Everybody
had good at-bats and that carries onto the field. You feel good
about yourself."Towers struck out five and walked one. He has walked two or less
in 28 of 29 starts this season."Josh settled in and pitched good," Blue Jays manager John
Gibbons said.Koskie had a solo homer off Seth McClung (6-9) in the third and
added an RBI single during a two-run seventh. The Blue Jays have
only three homers in the past 14 games.Jorge Cantu drove in his team-best 102nd run on a grounder for
Tampa Bay, which had won four of five. Two of the wins came during
a three-game series at Yankee Stadium that ended Thursday."That wasn't a very good ballgame," manager Lou Piniella said.
"We came in at 3 in the morning and we played like it."McClung allowed five runs and six hits in two-plus innings."He didn't have real good stuff," Piniella said. "With
younger pitchers you're going to get some inconsistency."Toronto scored twice in the first when Devil Rays center fielder
Joey Gathright was charged with an error for misplaying Shea
Hillenbrand's two-out fly ball.The Devil Rays tied it at 2 in the bottom half on Cantu's RBI
grounder and a run-scoring double by Aubrey Huff."After their first inning, we said in the dugout it looks like
it has a weird vibe tonight," Towers said.Gabe Gross and Frank Catalanotto had second-inning RBI singles
to put Toronto ahead 4-2. Gross had a career-high three hits and
got his first RBI of the season in his 25th game."It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of this season
and hopefully into next year," Gross said.Koskie gave the Blue Jays a 5-2 lead with his 11th homer in the
third. After Russ Adams hit an RBI double in the seventh, Koskie
made it 7-2 with his run-scoring single.The Devil Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but
failed to score when Cantu grounded out. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford
was thrown out at the plate in the fifth by first baseman
Hillenbrand when he attempted to score from second on Jonny Gomes'
two-out infield single."We just didn't look like the team you've been seeing lately,"
Gathright said. "One of those games you try and forget."Tampa Bay is 31-22 since the All-Star break.
Six-time All-Star Bert Campaneris and former boxing world
champions Alexis Arguello and Felix Trinidad threw ceremonial first
pitches as part of Hispanic Heritage Night. ... Blue Jays 2B
Orlando Hudson was out of the lineup because of a sprained left
ankle. ... Tampa Bay bench coach John McLaren began serving a
three-game suspension for his outburst during a game last week in
Boston. ... The announced crowd was 10,092, giving the Devil Rays a
home attendance of 967,675 in 70 dates. Tampa Bay is the only team
in the majors not to reach the 1 million mark this season. ...
Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who was hit in the thumb and
then the top of the head by Cantu's bat in the dugout during the
eighth, said he is fine. The bat went flying out of Cantu's hands
after a swinging strike. "Check the bat," Arnsberg said. "Make
sure the bat's OK."