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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Three quick homers and Jeremy Hellickson’s strong pitching put a swift end to Toronto’s long winning streak.

Hellickson allowed one hit in seven shutout innings and Tampa Bay hit three home runs in a span of eight pitches in the second inning Monday night, beating the Blue Jays 4-1 to snap their 11-game streak.

A night after scoring a season-high 13 runs at home to complete a three-game sweep of Baltimore, the Blue Jays were limited to four singles and five walks. They came up short in their bid to extend the longest winning streak in the majors since Detroit won 12 straight in 2011.

Toronto never led, as the Rays got back-to-back home runs in the second inning from James Loney, rookie Wil Myers and Sam Fuld.

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Hellickson, meanwhile, allowed only one Toronto runner past first base.

“The three home runs hurt right there, but their pitching shut us down,” Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That was the story of the game. Losses are never easy, but we’ve been on a nice little roll. We’ll start another one tomorrow.”

The Blue Jays’ longest winning streak in nearly 15 years matched the best in club history. They also won 11 straight in 1987 and 1998.

Injured pitcher likes option of headgear

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb favors pitchers having the option of wearing protective headgear on the mound.

Cobb returned to Tropicana Field, nine days after being struck in the right ear by a ball hit by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer.

Cobb, 25, spoke to the media for the first time since that June 15 game.

The injury renewed debate about what can be done to protect pitchers from batted balls.

“I don’t want it to turn into something where every pitcher on the mound has to wear (a helmet). That’s everybody’s personal choice,” Cobb said. But he added, “It’s one where you want to have a little say-so.”

Cobb said he has experienced nausea, severe headaches and symptoms of vertigo.

There is no timetable for his return to the mound.


• Baltimore optioned RHP Freddy Garcia to AAA Norfolk, an assignment the 36-year-old has the right to refuse. The former Mariner is 3-5 with a 5.77 earned-run average.

• Yankees general manager Brian Cashman refuted a published report that third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is recovering from hip surgery, had been OK’d to play for Class A Tampa next week. No date has been set for his return to the field, Cashman said.

• Giants outfielder Angel Pagan will have hamstring surgery and could miss the rest of the season.

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