ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Sidney Ponson got more than a victory. He also found out he would receive a high honor from the Queen of the Netherlands.
Ponson allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings to lead the
Baltimore Orioles over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-4 Sunday. The right-hander will be returning home to Aruba to become a
Knight in the Order of the Dutch Royal House on Tuesday. Aruba is a
dependency of the Netherlands. "It's an honor,'' Ponson said. "I'm looking forward to it
Tuesday.'' Ponson (2-2) gave up seven hits, struck out seven and walked
one. He also won at Tampa Bay on April 10, giving up three runs in
seven innings of a 4-3 victory. "It's one of those rare moments that a starting pitcher has
everything working,'' Ponson said. "They beat us the last two
games. It's important for us to get this win, have a good off day
and go get them on Tuesday.'' Deivi Cruz and Geronimo Gil had two RBI each for Baltimore,
which has won eight of 12. Rey Ordonez hit a run-scoring double, giving him a team-high 19
RBI, as the Devil Rays came up short in their bid to sweep a
series for the first time since taking three games from Detroit to
open the 2002 season. Tampa Bay did win four times during a six-game homestand. "I've seen a lot of good things,'' Tampa Bay manager Lou
Piniella said. "We'll take a 4-2 homestand anytime and we won't
complain about it.'' Jeff Conine put Baltimore up 1-0 with a run-scoring single in
the first, and Gil hit an RBI single in the second. Melvin Mora doubled, stole third and scored on catcher Toby
Hall's throwing error to start a four-run third. Cruz hit a two-run
single and Gil's RBI single made it 6-0. Baltimore blew a 5-0 second-inning lead in Saturday's 10-7 loss.
It was the sixth time -- all at home -- that Tampa Bay won after
trailing by three or more runs. "It was nice to go out and score some runs for Sidney the way
he pitched and held the Devil Rays in check,'' Orioles manager MikeHargrove said. "They've got some guys that swing the bat.'' Al Martin had an RBI single in the fourth for the Devil Rays,
and Ordonez's fifth-inning double made it 6-2. Baltimore went up 7-2 on Jerry Hairston's sixth-inning RBI
single. Chris Truby had an RBI double in the seventh and a
run-scoring single in the ninth. Ponson retired his first eight batters, including five on
strikeouts. "Sidney threw real well, especially his first three or four
innings,'' Hargrove said. "He struck out some people with nice
breaking balls.'' Devil Rays starter Joe Kennedy (1-2) gave up seven runs and 10
hits over six innings. "I didn't pitch very well,'' Kennedy said. "Pretty much
nothing worked. When the team is playing well and you do poorly,
it's upsetting.'' Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli went 1-for-4 and has 38 hits. He is
tied with Boston's Nomar Garciaparra (1997) for the second-most
hits by a rookie in April since 1961, behind only Seattle's Ichiro
Suzuki, who had 39 in 2001.
Two other players from Aruba with major league experience,
Eugene Kingsale and Calvin Maduro, will also be knighted. ... Tampa
Bay placed LHP Bobby Seay on the 15-day disabled list with left
shoulder tendinitis. ... Baldelli has a hit in 23 of 24 games and
has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Conine is 5-for-8 against
Kennedy. He stole second base in the third inning standing up. ...
Orioles 3B Tony Batista went 1-for-3 and has three hits in his past
25 at-bats. ... Kennedy threw 33 pitches in the third inning. ...
Baltimore is 43-42 all-time against Tampa Bay. ... Ponson threw 71
of 99 pitches for strikes.