Series: Game 1 of 3

Toronto leads 1-0 (as of 7/30)

Game 1: Friday, July 30
Tampa Bay0
Game 2: Saturday, July 31
Tampa Bay6
Game 3: Sunday, August 1
Tampa Bay5

Blue Jays 3

(45-57, 18-32 away)

Devil Rays 0

(48-54, 29-22 home)

    7:15 PM ET, July 30, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    TOR 000201000 3 8 1
    TB 000000000 0 2 0

    W: J. Towers (6-3)

    L: J. Halama (5-5)

    S: J. Frasor (13)

    Towers wins fourth straight start

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Towers felt as if he got away with one.

    He won his fourth straight start with seven innings of two-hit ball, and Josh Phelps homered twice to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-0 Friday night.

    "Not even close," Towers said when asked if he pitched as well his pitching line. "And I feel bad for saying that because I don't know if it's going to upset them. But I felt like I got away with so many pitches the whole game."

    "I really thought that I didn't throw the ball well, and that I got lucky."

    Towers (6-3) walked just one and struck out four before Vinnie Chulk worked a hitless eighth and Jason Frasor pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 14 opportunities, holding the Devil Rays to two hits for the second time this season.

    "We just didn't hit the ball," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "We didn't swing the bats. Didn't score runs. That's all. That's the story of the ballgame. Give their pitcher credit."

    Phelps hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot two innings later off starter John Halama. He is 4-for-8 with three homers against the left-hander.

    "They both made it just far enough, so I'm happy," Phelps said.

    Halama (5-5) allowed three runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings. It was his first outing since giving up nine runs over 3 2-3 innings in a 12-2 loss July 21 at Minnesota.

    "You got to give credit to Josh Towers," Halama said. "He went out there and shut us out."

    Phelps' first homer snapped Tampa Bay's streak of not allowing an earned run in 23 innings. The Devil Rays were coming off a three-game sweep of Kansas City in which they outscored the Royals 18-3.

    Towers retired 14 straight after giving up a one-out single to Rocco Baldelli in the first. Rey Sanchez ended the streak when he reached on a two-base throwing error by shortstop Chris Gomez leading off the sixth.

    Sanchez went to third on Geoff Blum's fly, but was left stranded when Carl Crawford struck out and Baldelli was retired on a grounder.

    "Just his body language and everything else is one of aggressiveness," Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. "Just 'Here it is ... let's see what you got.' That's the way he's pitching right now."

    Crawford helped keep the game close with a leaping catch at the wall in left field to take away an extra-base hit from Kevin Cash in the seventh.

    Jose Cruz Jr. drew a rare walk off Towers with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and went to third on Julio Lugo's single. The Devil Rays failed to score when second baseman Frank Menechino made a leaping catch on Toby Hall's soft liner.

    "Awesome ... I thought that was the biggest play of the game," Towers said. "I hung a slider and Toby jammed himself. That was a huge play."

    Towers has walked just two in his last 27 2-3 innings.

    Game notes

    The Devil Rays traded RHP Victor Zambrano and minor league RHP Bartolome Fortunato to the New York Mets for highly touted minor league LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jose Diaz. Kazmir, who could join the Devil Rays in September, and Diaz were assigned to Double-A Montgomery. ... The White Sox held Tampa Bay to two hits on April 18. ... Phelps has 24 RBI in his last 17 games. It was his second multihomer game this season and fourth overall. ... Toronto has won five straight against the Devil Rays. ... Tampa Bay signed its second round pick -- 3B Reid Brignac -- from June's draft. He will join rookie league Princeton (W.Va.) Saturday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press