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|The Toronto Blue Jays start their second-half quest to regain ground in the American League East as they open a three game series with the Texas Rangers tonight at Rogers Centre. Jerry Hughes Jersey . Toronto went into the break two games above .500 at 49-47. It could have been so much better, though, as the Blue Jays were 14 games above .500 on June 6 and held a six-game advantage atop the American League East. But thanks to losses in 23 of 34 games Toronto finds itself four games back of Baltimore in the American League East. The Blue Jays also limped into the break, dropping seven of their last nine games. "Were in second place," outfielder Jose Bautista said. "Were obviously not playing the baseball that we started off playing and that were capable of playing. Weve had a lot of injuries to deal with. "Bottom line is, weve got to figure out how to win some of these games that weve been losing, especially close ones. Hopefully we can manage to keep winning enough games to stay in one of the top two positions in our division, and when we get all our big bats back, kind of get back in the thick of things." Still, the Blue Jays have at least 49 wins at the break for the first time since 2006 On Friday, Toronto will hand the ball to righty R.A. Dickey, who has lost five of his last six starts. Dickey lost to Tampa Bay on Sunday, but pitched well, giving up just two runs in six innings, but still fell to 7-9 on the year to go along with a 3.82 ERA. Dickey, who started his career with Texas back in 2001, is 2-1 against his former team with a 2.91 ERA in six games (3 starts). Toronto took two of three from the Rangers earlier this season. No team needed the break more than Texas, which has lost eight straight and 22 of its last 25 games. The Rangers have also lost 11 of their last 12 on the road and now occupy last place in the American League West, 21 games back of first-place Oakland. "Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do and not looking for a reward for what youre doing," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Im in the process of getting this new bunch to understand what it means. Dont worry about stats or numbers. Its about the team. Some people need to check their attitude and check what commitment is." The Rangers havent dropped nine in a row since May 30-June 8, 2003. "It has been tough," Washington said. "Through it all, they have handled it very well. In reality, wed liked to have handled it better and get more wins. It didnt happen, but I didnt see any letdown." Getting the call for the Rangers on Friday will be All-Star Yu Darvish, who was one of the few bright spots on the team, going 8-5 with a 2.97 ERA. Darvish, though, is just 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA over his last five starts. "Just a little erratic. He usually finds himself on the course of the ballgame," Washington said. "There have been a couple of games there where hes been having trouble just trying to find the pitches he wanted to use as a combination." Darvish is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in six career starts against Toronto. Richie Incognito Jersey .Y. -- Mark Steenhuis scored four goals and added two assists to lead the Buffalo Bandits over the Toronto Rock 12-10 in National Lacrosse League action on Saturday. Brandon Tate Jersey . Spezza scored a power-play goal with 5 minutes left and Stephane Da Costa had the other two goals to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. http://www.authenticbillsfanatic.com/c-40-bills-adolphus-washington-jersey.aspx . The San Angelo, Texas product, who was a high school and college quarterback sensation in the Lone Star State, will start his first CFL game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-4) on Friday at Mosaic Stadium against the leagues top team, the Calgary Stampeders (11-2).TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan leaned over Kyle Lowry after the final buzzer sounded to end the Toronto Raptors season -- Lowry was laying distraught on the floor, his face in his hands. DeRozan was above him, speaking with urgency. It was a moment that said volumes about this young Raptors squad: their unexpected record-breaking season and their thrilling run through the playoffs, and the bonds they built along the way. "Thats my man," Lowry said of DeRozan. "He said, If anybody is taking that shot, Im living and dying with you taking that shot, or trying to attempt to get that shot off. It was a great brotherly moment." Lowry, who led the Raptors with 28 points Sunday, had just been blocked on a shot at the buzzer, giving the Brooklyn Nets a 104-103 Game 7 victory and ending the Raptors first playoff run in six seasons. "The play was to get me the ball, but they did a good job of trapping me, and I didnt get that shot off that I wanted to get off," said Lowry. Amir Johnson had a playoff-high 20 points plus 10 rebounds before fouling out of the game with 7:53 to play. DeRozan added 18 points for the Raptors, who were hoping to see the second round of the playoffs for just the second time in the franchises 19-year history. Patrick Patterson finished with 16 points, while Terrence Ross had 11. "Im proud of our guys," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said afterward. "Nobody gave them a snowballs chance in you-know-where to be here. Each game (in the series), a young player grew and learned something. "This group has a lot of stuff in front of them, a lot of basketball in front of them. This organizations in a great spot. Theyre going to be good." Still, it was a heartbreaking ending to a season that began with low expectations but ended with such high hopes, the remarkable turnaround coming after the seven-player trade in December that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento. The Raptors went on to record a franchise-high 48 wins, claim the Atlantic Division title and earn the No. 3 seed in the East. "Its definitely tough to take this loss, but we had a helluva fight, man," said DeRozan, holding his infant daughter Diar, clad in a tiny No. 10 jersey with a big red bow in her hair. "Nobody picked us to make it this far, to win these many games." A one-point game was a fitting ending to a season-long battle between these two teams. The total scores were identical -- 1070-1070 -- over the 10 games played. Toronto, desperate to keep its season going, played like it was feeling the pressure for much of the afternoon, trailing by as much as 12 points in the third quarter in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd that was hungry for a playoff series win. They trailed 81-73 going into the fourth, but a Toronto team that has been so strong down the stretch all season long pulled within five on a basket by Lowry with 7:20 to play. With the fans on their feet for the final couple of minutes left, the Raptors kept their foot on the pedal and it was a three-point game with 22 seconds left. Lowry drove to the hoop for a basket to cut the deficit to a point, but Shaun Livingston made two free throws to put Brooklyn back up by three with 13 seconds to play. Ross answered with a basket, and then stole the ball off Livingston with six seconds left. Lowry drove to the rim on the Raptors final possession, but three Nets players clogged the lane, and it was game over. "I just told him, Dont worry about it," said DeRozan, who ran to Lowry after buzzer. "I can sleep at night knowing he took that shot. I can live with that. Dont be down on yourself, thats what I was telling him. I told him without him we wouldnt even be in that situation." The capacity crowd of 20,457 chanted "Lets go Raptors!" as the dejected players left the court. Joe Johnson scored 26 points to lead the Nets, who will face the two-time defending champion Heat beginning Tuesday in Miami. Marcus Thornton finished with 17. Deron Williams had 13 points, Kevin Garnett had 12 and Paul Pierce 10. "It feels so much better when you do it on the road because you know you earned it," said Pierce, who was acquired along withh Garnett in the off-season in the Nets plan to win an NBA title. Jordan Matthews Jersey. "Everybody is against you. I cant say some of the things they were calling me out there. You were against not only 15,000 in the building, you were against the 15,000 outside. Nobody is with you." Lowry lingered long at his locker after the game. He arrived at the press conference still dressed in her jersey, his two-year-old son Karter at his side. Asked what was going through his mind he said: "Whats not? Its a lot of things that could have been done differently, but this season has been a great season. Ive had the best core group of teammates that Ive ever had in my life, in my career. . . its just a lot. "Mad, frustrated. But understanding that this is only a stepping stone for my growth." The Air Canada Centre and its fans resembled a massive Maple Leaf -- fans in the end sections wore red "We The North" shirts, while fans in the middle sections wore white. Drake, former Raptor Charles Oakley, and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and his wife Elisha Cuthbert sat courtside. Coach Casey was forced to take the subway to the game. He got stuck in traffic due to road closures for the Toronto Marathon, and did a U-turn and headed for the subway. Pictures of Casey -- dressed in a black Canada Goose bomber jacket with black Raptors T-shirt -- surfaced on Twitter soon after. Casey, whose contract expires after this season, said his players will draw inspiration from the series, saying theyll be in the gym on warm summer nights thinking about how close they came. "We would have loved to have been there. We put ourselves in a position, one shot, one free throw, one offensive rebound here or there. That close," Casey said, holding up two fingers. "Thats what I told the team. We were right there." Lowry becomes a free agent on July 1, but when asked about his future, he said his mind was still on the series and its ending. DeRozan said he hasnt talked to Lowry about his future. "I dont need to say nothing to him," DeRozan said. "Im not worried about that, the relationship Kyle and I have, he knows. I dont have to say much. Why would he leave? Thats my opinion, thats how I look at it." Raptors versus Nets made for a spirited first-round series since before the first game even tipped off, beginning when the Nets sat their starters at the end of the regular season in order to drop to sixth in the East to face the Raptors -- whom they saw as easier prey than Chicago. Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri fired a shot back, dropping his famous F-bomb about Brooklyn when addressing the Maple Leaf Square crowd prior to Game 1. Sunday afternoon, some 10,000 fans packed the sunny Maple Leaf Square and spilled into roads leading into it to watch the game on the giant screen outside the ACC. Ujiri addressed the fans once again. This time he would only say: "You know how I feel." Tim Leiweke, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, also addressed the crowd. "The other night the whole team, they put you in the locker-room before the game so we could understand what were playing for," Leiweke told the fans. "Tonight, today, we play for you. God bless you." Prime Minister Stephen Harper posted on Twitter: "Great effort (at)Raptors! Came up short but were all looking forward to next season. .WeTheNorth .NothernUprising .RTZ" Vince Carter led the Raptors past the New York Knicks and into the second round of the playoffs in 2001, where they lost the Philadelphia 4-3. Toronto missed its first three shots but then calmed down and a driving Greivis Vasquez jumper with two minutes to go in the first quarter gave the Raptors a six-point lead. They went into the second up 28-26. The Raptors allowed the Nets to shoot 67 per cent in the second, and Brooklyn went up by 10 on long pullup jumper by Livingston with 29 seconds left. The Nets led 61-53 at halftime. Toronto pulled to within six points on a driving layup by Lowry with 6:10 left in the third, but couldnt build any momentum, and the Nets were back up by 12 less than three minutes later. The Nets took an eight-point lead into the fourth. 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