Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 9/20)

Game 1: Friday, September 20
Toronto 7Final
Tampa Bay 11
Game 2: Saturday, September 21
Toronto 3Final
Tampa Bay 4
Game 3: Sunday, September 22
Toronto 12Final
Tampa Bay 6

Blue Jays 7

(71-83, 35-44 away)

Devil Rays 11

(52-101, 29-50 home)

    7:15 PM ET, September 20, 2002

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    TOR 020300002 7 - -
    TB 04610000 - 11 - -

    W: T. Sturtze (4-17)

    L: E. Loaiza (8-10)

    Loaiza once again unable to handle Rays

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Esteban Loaiza struggled against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays again.

    Esteban Loaiza
    Starting Pitcher
    Toronto Blue Jays
    VS. DEVIL RAYS IN 2002
    5 1 3 19 35 16.58

    Loaiza gave up a career-high nine runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings as the Toronto Blue Jays lost 11-7 to the Devil Rays Friday night.

    "I don't know what it is,'' Loaiza said, "I guess they just own me. With this team, there's no luck for me. They like to swing a lot, and that's what they've been doing against me all the time.''

    In five starts against Tampa Bay this season, Loaiza (8-10) has allowed 36 runs -- 35 earned -- in 19 innings, a 16.58 ERA.

    "Esteban couldn't throw the ball where he wanted to,'' Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. "When he gets into those funks, where his leg swing is real bad and he's working side-to-side, he leaves a lot of hittable fastballs in the strike zone.''

    Loaiza has dropped three of four decisions against the Devil Rays. Against everyone else, he is 7-7 with a 4.38 ERA.

    "I'm going to forget about this outing and be ready for my next start,'' Loaiza said.

    Tanyon Sturtze stopped his four-game losing streak and Chris Gomez hit a three-run triple for Tampa Bay.

    Sturtze (4-17) gave up five runs and five hits in eight innings and tied his career high with eight strikeouts as he avoided becoming the AL's first 18-game loser since Scott Erickson went 8-19 for Minnesota in 1993.

    Albie Lopez lost 19 games last year, splitting time between the Devil Rays and Arizona. "It was all offense. It really didn't matter what I did,'' Sturtze said.

    Tampa Bay has won four of five since its 100th loss last Saturday.

    "It's always beneficial to win to feel good about coming to the ballpark,'' Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. "Have some fun. The game is intended to have fun. It's hard to have fun when you're not experiencing success.'' Carlos Delgado hit his 29th homer for the Blue Jays, who lost for just the fourth time in 13 road games.

    "We hit some balls hard and scored seven runs,'' Tosca said. "We didn't pitch very well.''

    Orlando Hudson gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run double. Tampa Bay scored four times in the bottom half, with Gomez hitting a bases-loaded triple.

    The Devil Rays are hitting a major league-best .390 (48-123) with the bases loaded.

    Toby Hall, Jared Sandberg and Carl Crawford had RBI singles in a six-run third that made it 10-2.

    "Hitting is contagious,'' Hall said.

    Toronto got three runs back in the fourth when Delgado hit a solo homer and Vernon Wells had an RBI triple. Chris Woodward hit a two-run double in the ninth and finished with three RBIs.

    "I'm glad I don't have to face that lineup again,'' Sturtze said. "They have a great lineup.''

    Game notes

    Sturtze has beaten Toronto twice this season. His other wins came against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City. ... Gomez is hitting .429 (6-for-14) with the bases loaded. ... Delgado has eight homers against Tampa Bay this season. He has 20 all-time against the Devil Rays, the most by any Tampa Bay opponent. ... The Blue Jays are one homer short of 4,000. ... Toronto's Jose Cruz Jr. entered 6-for-13 with three homers against Sturtze. He went hitless in four at-bats. ... Wells went 3-for-4. He entered in a 2-for-39 slide. ... Hall has six three-hit games in his past 21 starts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press