ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Defensive replacement Gabe Gross bailed Toronto out of one last jam and John McDonald snapped an 11th-inning tie with an infield hit to help the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1 Tuesday night.

Gross saved the night for the Blue Jays, entering the game in left field with runners at first and third and one out in the bottom of the 10th and throwing out Eric Munson at the plate to complete an inning-ending double play.

Aaron Hill, who tied the game at 1 with a sixth-inning RBI single, led off the 11th with a single off Doug Waechter (3-6). Ken Huckaby’s sacrifice bunt and Frank Menechino’s grounder moved Hill to third before McDonald beat out a high chopper up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run.

Television replays showed McDonald touched the bag just as the ball arrived from shortstop Lugo. Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella stormed out of the dugout and argued the call by first umpire Ed Rupuano to no avail.

Reed Johnson followed with a RBI single to make it 3-1. Reliever Miguel Batista (4-0) retired Tampa Bay in order in the 11th to get the win.

Roy Halladay, trying to join Chicago’s Jon Garland as the AL’s only 12-game winners, allowed one run and seven hits in nine innings. He struck out seven, but his only walk in his past five starts led to the lone run off him in the first inning.

Lugo drew the first walk off the right-hander in 33 innings and stole second before moving to third on Aubrey Huff’s infield hit. He scored when Jorge Cantu hit a grounder back to the mound, and Halladay failed to check the runner at third before throwing to first base for the out.

Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir made the 1-0 lead stand until the sixth, despite walking three batters to load the bases in the second and giving up a one-out single to Hill and walking Gregg Zaun to put himself into a potential bind in the fourth.

The 21-year-old left-hander got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting McDonald to hit into an inning-ending double play, then escaped in the fourth when Menechino flied to right and catcher Toby Hall picked Hill off second base.

Toronto finally broke through in the sixth when Vernon Wells singled for his second hit off Kazmir and later scored on Hill’s RBI single.

The Blue Jays chased Kazmir in the seventh when Orlando Hudson and McDonald singled and both wound up in scoring position when left fielder Carl Crawford misplayed McDonald’s hit for an error.

Waechter replaced Kazmir, who allowed one run and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, and bailed the Devil Rays out of trouble by striking out Reed Johnson and getting Alex Rios to ground out to end the threat.

Toronto also wasted an opportunity to go ahead in the eighth, when the first two batters reached base on a single and error. Waechter kept the Devil Rays in the game that time by retiring Hudson on a fly ball and inducing McDonald to hit into a double play.

Notes: Halladay has pitched at least six innings in all 17 of his starts. The first inning walk to Lugo was the right-hander’s first since June 3, when he walked two during a 6-2 victory at Oakland. … Lugo’s first-inning steal was his 21st. He and Crawford, who has 24, began the night as the only major league teammates with at least 20 apiece. … Devil Rays LHP Trever Miller, out since June 11 with a right hamstring strain, was activated from the 15-day disabled list. RHP Tim Corcoran was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

AP-ES-06-28-05 2230EDT


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