Wells hits 4,000th homer in Blue Jays history


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are trying to have an unbeat finish to another dismal season.

Carl Crawford hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning Saturday night as the Devil Rays rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.

Damian Rolls had a one-out single off Pete Walker (9-5) and scored on Crawford's double to left-center field off Felix Heredia.

Tampa Bay is 5-1 since losing its 100th game last weekend and has won consecutive series for the first time since June 25-30.

"This is a good stretch,'' Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. "But, if we play terrible next week, or next weekend, then you feel like you haven't accomplished anything.''

The Devil Rays have put together their best stretch during a second straight 100-loss season. Before winning two straight against the Blue Jays, Tampa Bay took two of three from the AL East champion New York Yankees.

"It keeps some smiles around here,'' said Crawford, who has 11 hits in his past 26 at-bats.

Vernon Wells put the Blue Jays ahead with a three-run homer in
the third. It was the 4,000th homer in franchise history and came
after errors by pitcher Joe Kennedy and Crawford, the left fielder.

"I guess for the history book, it was good,'' Wells said. "But we ended up losing the ballgame, so it wasn't that big of a home run.''

Wells has four hits in seven at-bats during the series. He had
been in a 2-for-39 slide.

His homer was the 208th allowed by Tampa Bay this season, a team
record. The Devil Rays have given up a homer in 16 straight games,
also a team mark.

Tampa Bay tied the score in the seventh on Ben Grieve's two-run
double and Toby Hall's RBI double. Hall went 2-for-3 and has a
career-high nine-game hitting streak.

"I don't know about momentum,'' Grieve said. "The season is
about over. But it's never to late to put something together. It's
a good sign.''

Lance Carter (2-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win. He
has thrown 12 straight scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

"I just try to take care of what I can do,'' Carter said.
"Throw strikes, and get people out.''

Walker allowed four runs and eight hits in a career-high 7 1/3
innings. He worked seven shutout innings during his previous start,
a 2-0 victory at Baltimore.

"I'm just disappointed,'' Walker said. "I thought we had that
one as a team. I've got to find a way to get through that seventh
inning. It wasn't a matter of me getting tired. It was a matter of
me not making pitches.''

Walker didn't allow more than one runner in any of the first six innings and only one -- Jared Sandberg in the third reached third base. He induced three double plays.

"He had us off balance and guessing most of the game,'' Grieve said.

Walker has never had a major league complete game. The last time
he went the distance was for Double-A Birmingham in 1992.

"He was cruising for six innings,'' Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. "I wish I had an explanation. It looked like he just started getting his fastball up in the strike zone.''

Kennedy gave up three unearned runs and four hits in five innings. The left-hander is 1-3 over his past eight starts.

Game notes
The local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America selected CF Randy Winn as the Devil Rays' most valuable player. Crawford was the top rookie and C John Flaherty was picked
for the champion award. ... Kennedy misplayed Ken Huckaby's grounder in the third for his 10th error of the season. It's the most by a pitcher since Melido Perez had 10 for the New York Yankees in 1992. ... Toronto 3B Eric Hinske, who leads AL rookies with 23 homers and 81 RBI, went 0-for-4. He has two hits in 23 at-bats with one RBI in the six games.