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Bell helps Rays improve to 15-11 after break

8/13/2003

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Rob Bell may have found a home in the Tampa Bay rotation.

Bell took a one-hitter into the eighth and Damian Rolls hit a two-run double as the Devil Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2
Tuesday night.

"It really gets down to focusing on pitching and executing
pitches for me," Bell said. "Be the pitcher I want to be. Go out
and be aggressive."

Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli added run-scoring singles for
the Devil Rays, who are 15-11 since the All-Star break.

Tampa Bay is 20-16 since July 3, tying the best 36-game stretch
in team history.

Bell (3-2) shut out the Orioles through seven innings. After
Deivi Cruz walked to start the eighth, Larry Bigbie ended the
right-hander's night with an opposite-field homer.

"Anytime you give up two runs in seven innings, not bad,"
Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "He's got a little more
experience than the rest of the kids here. He's shown he can pitch
good ballgames."

Bell struck out two and walked four. He is 3-0 with five
no-decisions since June 25.

Jesus Colome and Lance Carter completed the three-hitter. Carter
worked the ninth for his 20th save in 26 opportunities, becoming
the 15th rookie to record 20 saves.

Baltimore starter Rodrigo Lopez (5-7) gave up three runs and
eight hits over six innings. He is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA over seven
starts on the road.

"I thought I threw a good game," Lopez said. "I made a
mistake on a few pitches. That was the game."

Crawford put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with an RBI single in the
third. Rolls made it 3-0 with his double in the sixth.

Baldelli's seventh-inning single off Buddy Groom extended the
Tampa Bay lead to 4-0.

Brian Roberts started the game with a line drive that struck
Bell on the upper back for a single. Shortstop Julio Lugo picked up
the loose ball, but had no play.

"All I kept telling myself -- that's only the leadoff hitter,"
Bell said. "Now it's good or bad from there."

Roberts went to second with one out when B.J. Surhoff walked,
but Bell worked out of the jam by retiring Jay Gibbons and Tony
Batista on fly balls.

"I like to get through the first, get my feet on the ground,
and I feel like everything feels right from there," Bell said.
"You're able to calm down a little bit and you're able to settle
into the game."

Gibbons went 0-for-4, snapping a career-high 15-game hitting
streak.

Bell walked batters in the fourth and fifth, but neither reached
second.

The Devil Rays had runners on second and third with one out in
fourth, but Lopez kept the Orioles within one by striking out
Marlon Anderson and Toby Hall.

Bell benefited from some strong Tampa Bay defense.

Baldelli ran down Bigbie's drive against the center field wall
in the fifth. Two innings later, second baseman Anderson dove to
his left to catch a sharp grounder by Jack Cust, then threw out the
Baltimore designated hitter at first.

"Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other team,"
Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "We hit the ball hard. They
just made the plays."

Game notes
Baltimore activated Surhoff (strained left quadriceps) from
the 15-day disabled list before the game. Surhoff, who started at
first base, had been out since July 24. ... To make room for
Surhoff, RHP Travis Driskill was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa. ...
Tampa Bay leads the all-time series with Baltimore 46-44. ... Devil
Rays DH Aubrey Huff doubled in the sixth to extend his hitting
streak to nine games.