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Towers' strong start helps Jays rout D-Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Towers ended his skid in strong
fashion.

Towers didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning and won for
the first time since May 17, leading the Toronto Blue Jays over the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 12-3 on Wednesday.

"I tried not to think about it," Towers said. "Getting that
far without a hit was amazing."

Towers (6-7) allowed just one runner through six innings,
hitting Nick Green with a pitch in the third, then gave up Aubrey
Huff's single to left with one out in the seventh.

"After the fifth inning, everybody got a little quiet," Towers
said. "They started to clear out of my area. I wasn't thinking
no-hitter. I just wanted to put up zeros."

Towers, 0-6 in his previous seven starts since winning at
Minnesota, gave up one run and two hits in seven innings, struck
out a season-high seven and walked one. Five of the strikeouts were
called.

Coming in, opponents were batting .301 against him.

"He was throwing strikes and locating ... that's for sure,"
Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "He was ahead of all our
hitters. Outside of that, I didn't see anything overly special. But
he knows how to pitch, give him credit. He does throw strikes, he
does change speed and he does locate the ball. I guess those are a
lot of positives."

Scott Downs and Justin Speier completed the four-hitter.

Rookie Russ Adams homered and drove in a career-high five runs
for the Blue Jays (40-39), hitting a three-run homer in the second
off Mark Hendrickson (3-5) and a two-run double in the eighth
against Trever Miller.

Hendrickson allowed six runs -- five earned -- and six hits in
three innings.

"It wasn't a good day all around," Hendrickson said. "I'm
trying to find a little more consistency in executing pitches the
way I want to. Even in my wins this year, I've been struggling to
really lock in and have everything work for nine innings."

Jonny Gomes hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the Devil
Rays (27-52), who fell to a season-worst 25-games under .500. Tampa
Bay was 40-39 after 79 games last season en route a
franchise-record 70 wins.

"He was throwing three, four pitches for strikes," Gomes said
of Towers.

Tampa Bay scored just 14 runs during a homestand in which it
lost five of six, including a 3-1, 11-inning defeat against Toronto
on Tuesday.

"Last night was a tough loss," Piniella said. "It carried
over today, I guess."

Tampa Bay lost by nine or more runs five times in June.

Gregg Zaun's two-run double and Adams' homer to put the Blue
Jays up 5-0 in the second. Adams had been 2-for-16 against
left-handers this season.

Vernon Wells extended his hitting streak to eight games with a
third-inning solo homer, and Shea Hillenbrand hit a two-run double
in the seventh off Lance Carter to make it 8-0.

Tampa Bay scored twice in the eighth, loading the bases before
Downs hit Cantu with a pitch and Speier walked pinch-hitter Eduardo
Perez.

Game notes
Tampa Bay 1B Travis Lee picked up his second error in 10
games when he misplayed Eric Hinske's grounder in the second. He
had a streak of 170 consecutive errorless games -- eight short of
the AL record for a first baseman -- before his error June 19. ...
Wells was hitless in 11 at-bats against Hendrickson before his
third-inning homer. ... Huff played in right field for the first
time since bruising his right knee last week. He was the DH the
previous two games. ... Blue Jays 1B coach Ernie Whitt helped
security guards stop a fan who had run onto the field. "I didn't
know what his intentions were," Whitt said. "I wouldn't go out of
my way to stop him. He ran for me and I got him. I just put an end
to it right away."