Rookie Joe Mays, who sprints between the dugout and the mound, scattered four singles in seven-plus innings and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the seventh to lift the Minnesota Twins over Pat Hentgen and the Blue Jays, 3-0 yesterday, ending visiting Toronto's four-game winning streak.

Bob Wells threw a five-pitch eighth inning and Mike Trombley made quick work of the ninth for his 19th save in 26 chances.

The game lasted just 2 hours 19 minutes.

"I run out there to get my blood flowing, my heart pumping," said Mays, who improved to 5-2 since his promotion to the starting rotation.

Mays's propensity to speed things along hurt him in the seventh, however, when he loaded the bases with nobody out before escaping damage after a visit to the mound from pitching coach Dick Such.

Mays (5-4) allowed an infield single to Shannon Stewart leading off the game and a single to Tony Batista in the second before retiring 13 straight.

But after being staked to a 2-0 lead, he loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh by walking Brian McRae and Carlos Delgado around a single by Shawn Green.

But Mays induced Darrin Fletcher to foul out on a 3-1 splitter, then struck out Batista on a fastball in and Willie Greene on a backdoor curve.

"He's got a good breaking ball. It's hard to judge how good his breaking ball is until you see it," said McRae, who was traded from Colorado to Toronto on Monday. "It seemed like he made up for his mistakes with good breaking pitches."

Mays walked two and struck out a career-high eight. He gave way to Wells after Tony Fernandez led off the eighth with a single.

And first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz snuffed any hopes of a Toronto rally by jumping to snare Homer Bush's line drive and spinning to tag Fernandez for a double play.

Toronto's lead in the AL wild-card race was cut to a half-game over idle Boston with its first loss in five games.

Hentgen (7-9) entered with an 11-2 record against Minnesota, and he toyed with the Twins until the sixth, when Javier Valentin led off the inning with a single for Minnesota's second hit.

Torii Hunter followed with a single and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Jacques Jones' groundout scored Valentin and Denny Hocking's sacrifice fly scored Hunter for a 2-0 Twins lead.

Marty Cordova led off the seventh inning with a double on a ball that left fielder Stewart lost in the Metrodome's ceiling, advanced on Corey Koskie's bunt single and scored on Brent Gate's line-drive single.

TIGERS 3, RANGERS 1: Aaron Sele struck out a career-high 13, the most by a Texas pitcher in seven years, but Tony Clark homered and visiting Detroit still won.

Dave Mlicki (7-10) yielded four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He helped Detroit end its five-game losing streak against Texas.

Reliever Francisco Cordero struck out four straight Rangers in the sixth and seventh, and Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 18th save.

Sele (12-7) pitched seven innings and had the most strikeouts for Texas since Roger Pavlik fanned 13 against Seattle on Aug. 7, 1992.

Sele had his five-game winning streak stopped by giving up three runs and eight hits.

The Rangers completed a season-long homestand at 8-5. Texas held two of its big offensive stars out of the starting lineup, Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez.

Gonzalez missed his second straight game with a strained hamstring and Rodriguez struck out as a pinch hitter with a runner on base to end the game.

DEVIL RAYS 7, ROYALS 6: Paul Sorrento went 4 for 4, including a three-run homer, and Tampa Bay won in Kansas City, Mo.

Sorrento drove in four runs and scored twice as Tampa Bay won for the second time in 10 road games. Kansas City has lost three in a row.

Mike Sweeney had an RBI single in the fifth that extended his hitting streak to 24 games, six short of the Royals record held by George Brett.

Bobby Witt (7-8) pitched six innings for the win. Roberto Hernandez worked the ninth for his 32nd save in 35 chances.