<
>

Sandberg knocks home winning run in ninth

8/11/2003

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays may not win
all that often. When they do, it's usually in exciting fashion.

Pinch-hitter Jared Sandberg doubled home the winning run with
two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Devil Rays
over the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Monday night.

It was the Devil Rays' third walk-off victory in the past seven
games.

"We make a lot of them exciting," Tampa Bay manager Lou
Piniella said. "We have confidence that we can come back."

"You don't want to get yourself in a position where you're
coming from behind all the time," he said. " My preference would
be to get a two or three run lead and just hold it."

Tampa Bay, with the AL's second-worst record at 46-71, has gone
14-11 since the All-Star break.

Julio Lugo singled with one out off Hector Carrasco (1-3) and
B.J. Ryan relieved. After Carl Crawford popped out, Sandberg
doubled into the left-center gap for the victory.

"My first walk-off hit," Sandberg said. "I've never had one,
including minor leagues. He blew two fastballs by me, so nothing I
can do but try and put the ball in play and find a gap."

Sandberg is 2-for-4 was a pinch-hitter this season. He entered
with just four hits in 18 at-bats -- including eight strikeouts --
since being called up for the second time this season from Triple-A
Durham on July 30.

"This definitely helps the confidence," Sandberg said.

Travis Harper (2-6) worked two scoreless innings.

Tampa Bay tied it at 3 when Travis Lee hit a two-run, two-out
homer off reliever Eric DuBose in the eighth. Lee has 14 RBI in
his past 14 games.

"You never feel comfortable (with a lead)," Baltimore manager
Mike Hargrove said.

Baltimore's Brook Fordyce homered and drove in two runs. Pat
Hentgen gave up one run and six hits over six innings.

"Pat really had to battle," Hargrove said. "He wasn't at the
top of his game. He gave us a chance to win."

In his last five starts, Hentgen is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA.

Fordyce had an RBI single in two-run first and hit a
sixth-inning solo homer. He has driven in a run in four straight
games.

Crawford also homered for the Devil Rays.

Joe Kennedy gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings.
The Devil Rays' opening day starter has struggled since returning
from a left shoulder injury on July 9.

In his previous six starts, Kennedy was 0-4 with a 7.85 ERA.

"I like what I saw," Piniella said. "He pitched well. I told
him he made a lot of good pitches. He changed speeds as well as
I've seen him change speeds this year."

Tampa Bay fell behind in the first inning for the second
straight game when the Orioles scored twice.

The first run scored when Kennedy hit his second batter of the
inning, Tony Batista, with a pitch. Fordyce made it 2-0 with an RBI
single.

Kennedy avoided further damage by inducing an inning-ending
double play from Jose Leon with the bases loaded.

The Devil Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom
half, but failed to score when Damian Rolls flied out.

Crawford's solo homer in the third got Tampa Bay within 2-1.

Fordyce put the Orioles up 3-1 on his fourth homer of the
season.

Game notes
After the game, Baltimore optioned INF Carlos Mendez to
Triple-A Ottawa and recalled RHP Rick Bauer from Ottawa. ...
Orioles 1B-OF Jeff Conine (sore right biceps), who missed his third
straight game, was examined in Baltimore. Hargrove said the injury
is not considered serious. ... The Devil Rays have played a major
league-leading 66 games decided by two or fewer runs, going 32-34.
... Tampa Bay recalled OF Jason Tyner from Triple-A Durham. He
started in right field. ... Baltimore RF Jay Gibbons extended his
career-high hitting streak to 15 games with a third-inning single.