ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -All the
Tampa Bay Rays
needed to end their losing streak was a home game.
hit a two-run homer and
allowed one run over seven innings to help the Rays snap a seven-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the
Toronto Blue Jays
on Friday night.
Zobrist hit his fourth homer of the season off A.J. Burnett (10-9) to give the Rays a 2-1 lead in the seventh. All four of
the homers by the ninth-place hitter have come in his last 11 games.
''It felt great,'' Zobrist said. ''Burnett was pitching a great game. He was just real hard to hit. I was fortunate to get
that fastball over the middle of the plate and put a good swing on it.''
Six of Tampa Bay's losses during the losing streak came on the road. Friday's victory improved the Rays' home record to 37-14.
''We've been doing it all season here at home,'' Shields said. ''It's a great one for us.''
Zobrist's two-out shot came after third base umpire Mike Everitt ruled
checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch to draw a walk. It appeared on a TV replay that the call was correct.
''The umpire did a good job, he did not swing,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''That's why we preach the good at-bat and
accepting your walks when they're there. They matter. I know Burnett did not want to do that, and it gave Zoey a chance to
do what he did.''
agreed the call was right.
''I think it was a checked swing,'' he said. ''I don't think he swung at it.''
Shields (8-6) gave up four hits, two walks and had four strikeouts for Tampa Bay, which started Friday one-half game behind
AL East-leading Boston.
got the final four outs for his fourth save.
Tampa Bay has won 33 of 40 at home since April 22. The Rays are 19-25 on the road.
''There's definitely a comfort about it,'' Maddon said about playing home games. ''You can't deny that. As long as we maintain
this kind of intensity and this kind of play at home I believe before the year is over we'll become a much better road team
Burnett went seven innings, giving up two runs and five hits. He won his two previous starts.
''It's the only mistake all tonight,'' Burnett said of the pitch to Zobrist. ''I kept the team in it as long as I could. One
pitch determined the outcome of the whole game.''
Burnett has been mentioned in trade speculation, but it appears he will remain with the
''I don't see A.J. going anywhere,'' Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said before the game.
Toronto has lost six of seven against Tampa Bay this season.
ahead 1-0 on a solo homer in the third. He has four homers and 17 RBIs in 18 games since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
on June 21.
Tampa Bay went 5-for-53 with runners in scoring position over the previous seven games and failed to convert on five more
chances during the first two innings. They didn't have any chances with runners on after that.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg talked with his team before batting practice. Tampa Bay finished in last place nine
times in its first 10 years.
''We have a chance for an incredible two months,'' Sternberg said.
(right elbow) is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL to start Tuesday's game at Baltimore. ... Rays LF
stopped a career-long 0-for-26 slide with a single in the third.... Tampa Bay activated RHP
(shoulder) from the DL. ... Toronto RHP
(shoulder) will have his status re-evaluated in two weeks. ... Burnett became the first Toronto pitcher to start consecutive
games. He also started the final game before the All-Star break last Sunday against the Yankees.