Roy Halladay returns but Toronto Blue Jays lose 4-1 to Tampa Bay Rays

TORONTO - Toronto welcomed back ace starter Roy Halladay on Monday night but he couldn't keep the Blue Jays from losing their third in a row, 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

TORONTO - Toronto welcomed back ace starter Roy Halladay on Monday night but he couldn't keep the Blue Jays from losing their third in a row, 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Halladay (10-2) took the loss and the Rays' Jeff Niemann (7-4) held the Blue Jays to four hits and two walks until he was removed after Rod Barajas's run-scoring single with one out in the eighth.

The game played before 15,665 at the Rogers Centre was the first of the year between the teams as the Blue Jays returned to playing within the American League East following interleague play.

It was the sixth victory in a row for the Rays. Randy Choate replaced Dan Wheeler for the final out to pick up his fourth save.

Halladay used 88 pitches in giving up five hits in six innings and left for Jeremy Accardo with the Blue Jays trailing 2-0 on Carl Crawford's seventh home run of the season in the third inning.

Accardo gave up two runs in the seventh, one on Pat Burrell's third homer of the season on a 1-1 slider to lead off the inning and the other on B.J. Upton's sacrifice fly. Two of Accardo's outs in the inning were on steal attempts at second.

Halladay struck out seven and walked two his first start since June 12 when he suffered a mild groin strain on his first batter of the fourth inning and had to come out of the game.

Halladay struck out the game's first batter, Upton, and the next two batters reached base, Crawford on a single and Evan Longoria on a walk. But Carlos Pena grounded into a double play.

Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen hit a double to lead off the second inning to give him a career-high 17-game hit string. He stole third where he was stranded.

Crawford hit a two-run homer on a 1-1 curveball in the third, his seventh of the season. Upton opened the inning with the walk, stole second despite a pitch out and took third on Barajas's throwing error.

Jose Bautista, who has started at third and in left field this season, started for the first time in right field and he passed his first test in the fourth inning when he threw out Gabe Gross who was trying for a double. Regular right-fielder Alex Rios was rested and Russ Adams made his second start in left field.

Notes: Barajas started Monday for the first time since he strained his right hamstring in the second inning when he hit a single in a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. . . The Blue Jays have signed two more players from the draft, their ninth-round pick Aaron Loup, a left-handed pitcher from Tulane University and 19-round pick Ryan Tepera, a right-handed pitcher from Sam Houston State University. The Blue Jays have signed 24 players from this month's draft. . . Matt Garza (5-5, 3.61 earned-run average) will start for the Rays Tuesday against Scott Richmond (6-4, 3.68 ERA).

 
 
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