Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Toronto leads 1-0 (as of 4/4)

Game 1: Monday, April 4
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Tampa Bay2
Game 2: Tuesday, April 5
Toronto6Final
Tampa Bay3
Game 3: Wednesday, April 6
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Tampa Bay8

Blue Jays 5

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Devil Rays 2

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    4:15 PM ET, April 4, 2005

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    TOR 000300002 5 7 1
    TB 001100000 2 10 0

    W: R. Halladay (1-0)

    L: D. Brazelton (0-1)

    S: M. Batista (1)

    Halladay pitches Jays to opening victory

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Roy Halladay tried to keep it simple, just like he has all spring.

    Reverting to his Cy Young form of two years ago, the Toronto right-hander pitched seven-plus strong innings, and the Blue Jays got home runs from Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson and Eric Hinske to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-2 in their opener Monday.

    "My biggest focus was trying to almost make it a spring training start," Halladay said. "Sometimes it's hard not to try and turn things up a little bit and overpower guys. ... I felt for the most part I was able to stay under control."

    After winning the 2003 AL Cy Young Award, Halladay was slowed by injuries last season, when he was 8-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts and spent two stints on the disabled list because of shoulder problems.

    He looked healthy and sharp in this one, striking out seven and walking none to win for first time in three opening-day assignments with the Blue Jays.

    "He did great," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He looked like the old Roy we saw a couple years ago."

    Hudson hit a two-run homer off loser Dewon Brazelton in the fourth inning. Six pitches later, Wells followed with a solo shot off one of the catwalks supporting the roof at Tropicana Field.

    The Devil Rays played without outfielder Alex Sanchez, who began serving a 10-day suspension for violating baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He was replaced by Chris Singleton, who went 1-for-4 and scored a run.

    Four of Tampa Bay's first six hits off Halladay were infield singles. The right-hander, who scattered nine hits, was lifted after a leadoff single by Julio Lugo in the eighth. Scott Schoeneweis relieved, and Miguel Batista got four outs to earn the save.

    The Devil Rays, who've struggled offensively all spring, finished with 10 hits -- nine of them singles. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

    "Toronto had seven hits, but three of them were long ones. That was the game," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "I thought we played a good ball game. We just didn't score many runs. ... But let's not get too carried away. It's just opening day."

    Brazelton allowed three runs and five hits in seven-plus innings for the Devil Rays, who had not lost on opening day since 1999. Their five-game winning streak in openers was the longest in the majors.

    At 24, Brazelton is the second-youngest opening day starter in Devil Rays history. He has been a much better pitcher at home during his career, going 7-5 at Tropicana Field as opposed to 0-11 with an 8.09 ERA in 15 road starts.

    The right-hander retired the first nine Blue Jays before giving up a bloop double to Frank Catalanotto leading off the fourth. Hudson homered to right on a 3-1 pitch, and Wells followed with his drive to left that struck a speaker extended below one of three catwalks that ring the outfield.

    Hinske added a two-run shot in the ninth off Jesus Colome.

    "I made two mistakes. I know better than to give up those runs," said Brazelton, who settled down after Hudson and Wells homered to retire 10 in a row. "My teammates played their hearts out, and I feel like I let them down."

    Carl Crawford, who last week signed a $15.25 million, four-year contract, drove in Tampa Bay's first run when he grounded into a force play in the third.

    Jorge Cantu added a sacrifice fly off Halladay in the fourth.

    Brazelton watched Halladay work out of several potential jams, and tried to take notes.

    "In certain situations he would throw a curve ball and get a strikeout," the Devil Rays pitcher said. "I would throw a fast ball, trying not to walk anybody, and they hit it hard. That's something I have to learn."

    Game notes


    Halladay is the second Toronto pitcher to make three straight opening-day starts, joining Jimmy Key (1987-89). ... C Charles Johnson signed with Tampa Bay before the game, giving the Devil Rays 16 players who were not on the team's opening day roster a year ago. ... Brazelton is Tampa Bay's seventh opening-day starter in eight seasons.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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