Orioles hold on for victory


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles almost let
another one slip away.

David Segui delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth
inning and Sidney Ponson allowed three runs over seven innings as
the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-3 Thursday.

Segui's two-out single to center off Jesus Colome (0-1) put the
Orioles in front after Baltimore had blown a lead of three runs or
more for the third straight game.

"Today was one we felt like we had to win,'' Segui said. "You
really don't want to get into a funk early on. It was huge. The
first two ballgames we very easily could have won, should have

Segui fouled off three pitches with a 3-2 count. He is hitting
.385 (42-for-109) at Tropicana Field, the second highest average
among Tampa Bay opponents.

"He's effectively wild,'' Segui said of Colome. "He throws
really hard and had a lot of late movement. Once he got me two
strikes, I wanted to hit the ball hard on the ground. I didn't want
to give him the easy out with a strikeout.''

Brook Fordyce opened the eighth with a bloop single to shallow
right that second baseman Marlon Anderson thought he should have

"I had a beat on it,'' Anderson said. "I should have made the

Pinch runner Jose Morban advanced to third on Jerry Hairston's
sacrifice bunt and a grounder by Gary Matthews Jr.

The Orioles lost the first two games of the series despite
taking commanding leads. They were up 6-0 before losing 8-7 in 10
innings on Tuesday and blew a 4-0 lead in Wednesday's 10-7 defeat.

"I think it's really important,'' Orioles manager Mike Hargrove
said. "You like to see good work rewarded. That's what builds
confidence. We worked for that game.''

Jay Gibbons put the Orioles up 3-0 with a three-run homer off
Steve Parris in the fourth. Matthews and Segui opened the inning
with walks and after Jeff Conine flied out, Gibbons hit his second
of the season. He is 5-for-8 with three homers against Parris, who
gave up three runs and three hits over seven innings.

"Nine bad pitches,'' Parris said. "If I don't walk those two
guys before I give up the homer, it's a solo homer. That teaches
you a lesson not to walk guys.''

Tampa's Al Martin made it 3-1 with an RBI double in the bottom
half of the inning.

Rookie Rocco Baldelli extended his hitting streak to 10 games
with a run-scoring single during a two-run Tampa Bay fifth that
tied the game. Baldelli went to third when Ponson was charged with
an error for an errant pickoff throw and then scored on a wild

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty (mad) when those two runs
scored,'' Ponson said. "I came up here (into the clubhouse) and
shouted and screamed. I went back to the dugout with a clear mind
and that helped me out.''

Ponson gave up eight hits and struck out five. Buddy Groom
pitched a scoreless eighth and Jorge Julio got three outs for his
first save in three opportunities.

The Devil Rays went 4-6 on a season-opening 10-game homestand.
All the wins were come from behind efforts.

"I don't care about the record,'' Devil Rays manager Lou
Piniella said. "We played hard and that's the most important
thing. You play well enough, the record takes care of itself.''

Game notes
Tampa Bay signed LHP John Rocker to a minor league
contract. He will join the team's extended spring training program
on Saturday. ... The time of the game was 2 hours, 17 minutes. ...
Devil Rays CF Carl Crawford singled in the first and has a
career-high 10-game hitting streak. ... Gibbons has a hit in eight
of nine games. ... Ponson is 4-6 in 16 games against the Devil
Rays. ... Tampa Bay plays 28 of its next 40 games on the road.