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Toronto 8, Tampa Bay 5

9/23/2003

TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Devil Rays
tried to be diplomatic after several run-ins on and off the field.

Not anymore.

Toronto's starting pitcher was ejected for the second straight
night Tuesday, and Carlos Delgado hit his 299th career homer as the
Blue Jays beat the Devil Rays 8-5.

Josh Towers was ejected for throwing behind Aubrey Huff in the
fifth inning. Roy Halladay was tossed for hitting Rocco Baldelli
with a pitch Monday. Both teams said there were no ill feelings
between the teams on Monday, but that's no longer the case.

"There was no beef between our teams coming into this series,"
Towers said. "Obviously, now there is because we cleared the
benches."

Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford tripled off Towers in the fifth before
Julio Lugo hit a two-run shot, tying the game at 4. Towers then
threw behind Huff on the next pitch, prompting plate umpire Larry
Poncino to eject him. Huff hit his 32nd home run in his previous
at-bat.

"I wanted to send a message," Towers said.

Victor Zambrano hit Delgado with a pitch in the second and Chris
Woodward with a pitch in the fourth.

Benches cleared in the ninth after Aquilino Lopez threw behind
Crawford. Crawford had to be held back and a shoving match ensued
between the teams.

Lopez, Crawford, and former Devil Rays pitcher Tanyon Sturtze
were ejected.

Steve Palermo of the commissioner's office warned umpires
working Tampa Bay-Toronto games to watch for beanballs, leading to
Halladay's ejection. On June 6 last season, Huff was hit on the
helmet by Toronto's Luke Prokopec after hitting a home run in his
previous at-bat.

"It stems from last year," Palermo, a supervisor of major
league umpires, said Tuesday. "Aubrey Huff got hit in the head
last year. We take that seriously."

Halladay's ejection wasn't the first trouble between the teams
this month.

Tosca wrote a quote from Crawford on a clubhouse message board
before a game on Sept. 10. After Tampa Bay's win on Sept. 9
Crawford said it seemed that when the Blue Jays get behind "they
kind of let down a little bit."

Over the weekend the Blue Jays ran an advertisement that showed
Halladay, Delgado and Vernon Wells under the words "A chance for
Carl Crawford and the Devil Rays to see real All-Stars up close."

In the fourth inning of Monday's game, the Blue Jays posted
Crawford's quote on the JumboTron.

Delgado said Crawford is making enemies.

"The guy has a year in the big leagues and he's already popping
his mouth," Delgado said.

Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella would like it to end.

"It's getting ugly," Piniella said. "Lets hope we can play
baseball the next two nights."

On Sunday the Devil Rays traded hit batsmen with the Yankees,
and starter Jeremi Gonzalez chased Yankees catcher Jorge Posada
down the first-base line after Posada objected to being pitched
inside. Gonzalez hit Nick Johnson with a pitch earlier in the
inning.

Delgado gave Toronto a 5-4 lead in fifth with his 37th home run,
a solo shot off Zambrano (11-10).

Reed Johnson extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a
double in the third, and his two-run shot off Brandon Backe in the
fifth gave Toronto a 7-5 lead. He finished 3-for-4 with a
career-high four RBI.

Jason Kershner (3-3) pitched 3 1-3 innings for the win.

Huff went 4-for-4 for the Devil Rays, who need two wins in their
remaining five games to avoid 100 losses for the third straight
season.

Zambrano allowed five runs -- four earned -- on five hits in five
innings.

Zambrano set a team record with his 20th hit batsmen. He denied
throwing at Delgado.

"I don't why Delgado felt I threw it on purpose," Zambrano.
"I have to pitch inside to him."

Huff and Baldelli hit consecutive singles in the first before
Travis Lee hit an RBI single.

Huff homered off Towers in the third.

Toronto's Howie Clark hit an RBI single in the bottom half and
the Blue Jays scored three runs in the fourth on Kevin Cash's RBI
single, Johnson's sacrifice fly and Clark's run-scoring single.

Crawford hit his triple in the fifth before scoring on Lugo's
two-run homer, which tied it at 4.

Damian Rolls' RBI single cut Toronto's lead to 7-5 in the
eighth, but Johnson hit an RBI single in the bottom half.

Game notes
Tosca said right-hander Pete Walker will start on Thursday.
Tosca considered starting rookie RHP Vinnie Chulk, but he's
appeared in just two games since being called up on Sept. 2. ...
Crawford is in a 6-for-45 slump (.133).