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Blue Jays testing him as closer for '05

TORONTO (AP) -- Miguel Batista overcame a shaky start in his
debut as Toronto's closer.

Batista walked the first batter he faced, but ended up with his
second career save in the Blue Jays' 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays on Saturday.

"I was a little lost at the beginning," Batista said.

Batista made his first appearance since the Blue Jays moved him
from starting rotation to the closer's role for the last two weeks
of the season in a tryout for next year.

Batista -- who has allowed the second-most walks in the AL (93) --
walked Tino Martinez to open the ninth. After Jose Cruz Jr.
grounded into a fielder's choice, B.J. Upton singled to put runners
on first and second. Batista then struck out Geoff Blum and
pinch-hitter Midre Cummings to end the game.

"It took me a little while to get used to that kind of
situation," Batista said. "It was OK."

Batista only other save came on Oct. 2, 1999, at Philadelphia
when he was with Montreal and pitched the last three innings.

David Bush (4-4) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and two hits
and walked four in six innings. The rookie right-hander only
allowed Julio Lugo's RBI single in the third and Jose Cruz Jr.'s
single in the fourth.

Jason Frasor pitched a perfect seventh and Justin Speier worked
a perfect eighth before Batista pitched the ninth, completing the
three-hitter.

"In his first opportunity, he did a nice job," Blue Jays
interim manager John Gibbons said of Batista. "He settled in and
he looked like a closer. He's a big, strong guy."

Reed Johnson and Gabe Gross homered for the last-place Blue
Jays, who trail the fourth-place Devil Rays by three games.

Tampa Bay, which matched a season low for hits, is trying to
avoid a last-place finish for the first time in its seven-year
history.

Todd Ritchie (0-1) allowed four runs on five hits in 4 1-3
innings in his first start in the majors since April 24, 2003.
Ritchie, a 15-game winner with Pittsburgh in 1999, was called up by
Tampa Bay last Tuesday.

"It was a lackluster start," Ritchie said. "I have to do a
better job of protecting the lead. I have a lot of work to do."

Gross homered off Ritchie in the second to give the Blue Jays a
1-0 lead.

Bush didn't allow a baserunner until hitting Brook Fordyce with
a pitch with two outs in the third. Carl Crawford followed with a
walk before Lugo hit his RBI single.

After Bush walked Tino Martinez in the fourth, Cruz singled
before Martinez advanced to third on catcher Guillermo Quiroz's
passed ball. Upton followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Devil
Rays a 2-1 lead.

Johnson tied it in the bottom half with his solo home run.

Orlando Hudson and Vernon Wells hit consecutive singles off
Ritchie in the fifth before Carlos Delgado walked and Eric Hinske
hit a two-run double off Bobby Seay to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.

Game notes
Batista went 10-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 31 starts. ... The
Blue Jays started five rookies. ... Ritchie is the 14th starting
pitcher used by the Devil Rays this season, tying a club record set
last season. ... Toronto's Josh Towers, Vinnie Chulk and Frasor
combined on a two-hitter against Tampa Bay on July 30.