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TORONTO -- Is this as bad as it gets for the struggling Toronto Blue Jays?Manager John Gibbons sure hopes so.Alex Cobb pitched 6 2/3 innings to win for the first time in almost two years, Kevin Kiermaier and Corey Dickerson hit two-run homers and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Blue Jays 8-1 Wednesday, Torontos ninth loss in 12 September games.Ive got to believe were at rock bottom, Gibbons said. I dont see how much lower it could go. So Im optimistic that this will turn and turn in a hurry.Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson sat out his third straight game for Toronto and underwent an MRI on his sore right hip. The results were not immediately available.Hopefully Ill be able to get back out there tomorrow, Donaldson said after the game.Toronto holds the second AL wild card after falling one game behind Baltimore, which beat Boston later Wednesday night. The Red Sox lead the AL East by one game over the Orioles and two over the Blue Jays.Its tough but we still control our own destiny, Donaldson said.It was the same story against Cobb and the Rays, who have won six of eight at Rogers Centre.Torontos Devon Travis doubled to lead off the first and scored on Edwin Encarnacions sacrifice fly, but the Blue Jays didnt get another hit until Dioner Navarros one-out single in the seventh.Were not playing good enough baseball right now on either end, Gibbons said. The bats have gone cold, the pitchings been kind of hit or miss.Marco Estrada (8-9) allowed four runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Hes 1-5 with a 6.95 ERA in his past seven starts.Im not going to change anything, Estrada said. I felt like I threw the ball really well.The right-hander struck out the Rays first five batters of the game, becoming the first Blue Jays pitcher to open a game with five Ks. Estrada was perfect through three before giving up three runs and three hits in the fourth.Logan Forysthe singled and Keiermaier followed with a first-pitch home run. Estrada left after Nick Franklins one-out single in the sixth. Matt Dermody came on and gave up Dickersons homer.Last-place Tampa Bay now has a franchise-record 200 homers, eclipsing the previous mark of 199 in 2009.Cobb (1-0) allowed one run and two hits to win for the first time since Sept. 23, 2014, against Boston. The oft-injured right-hander, who recently returned from elbow surgery, had gone 722 days between victories.I love winning, Cobb said. Its why starters go out there. You want to win the ball game, you want to work deep.Third baseman Evan Longoria called Cobb the emotional leader of Tampa Bays staff.Its good to have him back, Longoria said. Im happy for him. I know how hard he worked to get back to this point.FRONT OFFICE ADDITIONLate in the game, Toronto announced the hiring of former Boston general manager Ben Cherington as Vice President of Baseball Operations.FOUR OF A KINDToronto has lost four straight series for the first time since June 30 to July 12, 2015.TRAINERS ROOMBlue Jays: Donaldson said his sore hip has been bothering him for some time. It hurts most when moving from side to side, he said.UP NEXTRays: LHP Blake Snell (5-8, 3.62) faces the Orioles for the first time as Tampa Bay opens a four-game series at Baltimore on Thursday. Snell has faced every other AL East rival at least twice. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.44) starts for the Orioles.Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (18-4, 3.33) starts against the Angels on Thursday. Happ snapped a three-start winless streak by beating Boston on Saturday. RHP Daniel Wrigt (0-2, 7.50) starts for Los Angeles. 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Wholesale Baseball Gear WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- When the New Orleans Saints conclude practice Wednesday at the $30 million training center built for them at the luxury Greenbrier Resort, the three fields there are expected to be used by disaster-affected youth football teams whose regular fields were contaminated by flooding of historic proportions.Beyond that, the future of the athletic facilities Greenbrier owner Jim Justice built in 2014 remains uncertain.When the Saints depart for Houston on Wednesday night for joint practices with the Texans, an initial three-year agreement for New Orleans to hold the bulk of training camp at the historic mountain retreat in West Virginia will effectively expire.Justice said he and the Saints have discussed an open-ended extension that would allow either side to end the agreement with a minimum of two years notice, but there have been no commitments yet.It would be an enormous disappointment to me and the people of West Virginia if they dont come back, compounded by this terrible disaster weve had, said Justice, a coal mining magnate who is also running for governor of West Virginia. It has been a tremendous economic boost for West Virginia and a tremendous morale and spiritual boost for the people -- especially now.These people dont need another cannon ball right now, Justice added. But if thats what it is, you deal with it.The Saints have gone 7-9 following each of their first two training camps at the resort, which was founded as a health spa on the site of natural springs in the midst of a scenic, rugged, densely forested landscape near the West Virginia-Virginia state line.Many Saints fans now question whether the luxurious surroundings -- marked by Classic Revival architecture similar to the White House -- have made players soft. Others simply question why the club cant find a suitable training site much closer than the nearly 900-mile drive from New Orleans. After all, the Saints lone Super Bowl season followed a training camp held at team headquarters in 2009.Saints coach Sean Payton got to know Justices resort while attending the PGA Tours Greenbrier Classic (which was canceled by flooding this summer). Payton readily shows his affection for the Greenbrier and dismisses the notion that the posh surroundings are responsible for the Saints recent struggles. He has said the relative seclusion makes it easier to work without distraction, and that the facilities, sitting at an elevation of about 2,000 feet, provide summer practice conditions considerably less hot and humid than in south Louisiana.At the same time, its not clear that the Saints believe that conntinuing to train at the Greenbrier serves their best interest.ddddddddddddWell evaluate that. We do that at the end of each year, Saints executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis said shortly after the club arrived in West Virginia this summer. Ultimately, it comes down to what gives us the best chance to be successful.What was clear from comments made by Loomis, Payton and several players was that the teams bond with the people of White Sulphur Springs was strengthened by the decision not to move camp from the resort following devastating June floods. The Saints, who a decade ago embraced their role in New Orleans recovery from Katrina, canceled conditioning tests on their first full day in West Virginia and instead helped fix up a public recreational area that included a playground, tennis and basketball courts, and playing fields.Any time youre there to help and really work, it transcends regions and states and theres an element of the human spirit thats consistent, Payton said.Stephen Gustard, who expects to be displaced from his flooded White Sulphur Springs home for months, called the Saints effort to rebuild the park a huge morale booster.Thats a place where kids can go play and get away from the depressing avenue where everyones at right now, said Gustard, the chef at a French bistro known for its goat cheese mousse served with figs on crostini in nearby Lewisburg. Its exciting even just having a professional team that supports our community by coming here.Last weekend, the Saints invited high school football teams from flood-damaged communities near Charleston, the state capital, to attend practice and meet with players and coaches.The Greenbrier is rebuilding from damage to its golf courses and other amenities, but the hotel sits above where floodwaters rose, as do the terraced, hillside facilities the Saints use.If the Saints dont return, Justice said hell see if other NFL teams are interested. But Justice stressed that his initial hope was that the Saints would make the Greenbrier their home-away-from-home for many years. He has tried to make it affordable, charging the club a $150 room rate instead of the usual $400-plus during summer. Justice said his catering staff provides team meals at a discount and sticks to a menu devised by the teams nutritionist.Ive adopted them, said Justice, whose Greenbrier office is adorned with Saints memorabilia.---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '

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