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Jays, Burnett beat Rays 3-1

28

July

TORONTO - A.J. Burnett matched a career-high with his 12th win, Matt Stairs hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Monday night.

Burnett, who also won 12 games in 2002 and 2005, allowed one unearned run and six hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out 10. It was the 20th time Burnett has struck out 10 or more in a game, and the fourth time this season.

Asked before the game whether the Blue Jays would deal Burnett by Thursday's trade deadline, general manager J.P. Ricciardi was emphatic.

"He's not going anywhere," Ricciardi said.

The Rays scored a single run for the second straight game, both losses. Toronto won for the sixth time in seven games.

Burnett (12-9) has won six of eight starts for Toronto, which improved to 3-7 against Tampa Bay this season.

Scott Downs worked the eighth and B.J. Ryan pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities.

Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields lost for just the second time in his past seven starts. Shields (9-7) allowed three runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out five without a walk.

Sloppy defense by the Blue Jays helped Tampa Bay open the scoring in the third. With runners at first and second, Burnett fielded Carl Crawford's bunt but threw high and wide to third, pulling Scott Rolen off the bag and allowing Akinori Iwamura to slide in safely. One out later, Iwamura scored when Lyle Overbay fumbled Carlos Pena's grounder.

Shields cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one hit, but stumbled in the fifth. Rod Barajas led off with a single and Stairs followed with a two-run drive to center, his 11th.

Shields set down 10 of the next 11 batters but was knocked out in the eighth, after a diving B.J. Upton couldn't reach Brad Wilkerson's sinking liner. The ball rolled to the wall, putting Wilkerson at third. Joe Inglett chased Shields with a triple over Upton's head.

Grant Balfour came on and got Marco Scutaro to pop out before Alex Rios lined out sharply to right.

Burnett kept Toronto's 2-1 lead intact in the seventh when Upton drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third when Crawford reached on a wild-pitch third strike. Evan Longoria ended the inning by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

Associated Press

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:37am]

    

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