Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 9/17)

Game 1: Friday, September 17
Tampa Bay11Final
Game 2: Saturday, September 18
Tampa Bay2Final
Game 3: Sunday, September 19
Tampa Bay7Final

Devil Rays 11

(63-82, 27-48 away)

Blue Jays 4

(60-87, 36-40 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 17, 2004

    Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 101040311 11 12 0
    TOR 200000200 4 5 1

    W: D. Waechter (4-7)

    L: J. Towers (9-6)

    Huff, Upton provide rays of hope

    TORONTO (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays moved closer to avoiding a last-place finish for the first time in their seven-year history.

    Aubrey Huff homered and drove in three runs and B.J. Upton hit a three-run shot in the Devil Rays' 11-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

    Julio Lugo and Tino Martinez each drove in two runs for the fourth-place Devil Rays, who are four games ahead of the last-place Blue Jays.

    "We tied last year's win mark," said Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella, whose club is 63-82. "Hopefully, we'll add a few more to that total."

    Tampa Bay went 63-99 last year, and the AL East standings have finished the same way for the last six years.

    "It would be nice to not finish last," Huff said. "I guess it's a step up from the year before, but in the grand scheme of things, both Toronto and us are going home at the end of the year."

    Doug Waechter (4-7) allowed four runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list.

    Carlos Delgado and Eric Crozier homered for the Blue Jays, who are a season-worst 27 games below .500 at 60-87.

    Delgado hit his 30th home run, becoming the 14th player in major league history to hit 30 or more in eight consecutive seasons. His two-run shot in the first hit off the top of SkyDome's Windows restaurant in center field.

    "If you had asked me in spring training about 30-100, I'd say I should have had that by August. It's been that kind of year," said Delgado, who struggled in his first two months before missing 33 games with a strained rib cage.

    Huff hit his 26th homer off Josh Towers (9-6) in the third, tying it at 2.

    After Lugo hit an RBI double in the fifth, Huff hit a run-scoring double over the head of right fielder Alex Rios. Two batters later, Tino Martinez hit a two-run triple to right to give Tampa Bay a 6-2 lead.

    Towers made his first start after missing two weeks with a sore shoulder and allowed six runs -- five earned -- and six hits in four innings.

    In the seventh, Huff singled, and Sean Douglass intentionally walked Jose Cruz Jr. two outs later. Upton then sent Douglass' first pitch over the right-field wall to make it 9-2.

    "I figured if they are going to walk him, I'd better do something," Upton said.

    The Blue Jays cut it to 9-4 in the bottom of the inning when Gregg Zaun walked with one out and Crozier homered to right one out later.

    Lugo added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Toby Hall had an RBI double in the ninth for Tampa Bay.

    Game notes

    Toronto RHP Miguel Batista is being moved from the starting rotation to the closer's role for the last two weeks of the season in a tryout for next year. Batista went 10-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 31 starts. ... Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford stole his 56th base in the first, surpassing the club record he set last year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press