Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 5/25)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 25
Minnesota1Final
Tampa Bay6
Game 2: Wednesday, May 26
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Tampa Bay2
Game 3: Thursday, May 27
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Twins 1

(25-19, 11-11 away)

Devil Rays 6

(15-28, 12-11 home)

    7:15 PM ET, May 25, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    TB 00010320 - 6 9 1

    W: V. Zambrano (4-4)

    L: K. Lohse (1-4)

    Zambrano allows one run in seven innings

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Julio Lugo returned from a rare off day to help the Tampa Bay Devil Rays win again.

    Lugo homered and drove in four runs to back Victor Zambrano, and the Devil Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 Tuesday night to stretch a winning streak to five for the first time since 2000.

    "It's lovely," Lugo said. "We need to get in a streak like that. I think we feel like we can compete with anybody right now in the league. A couple days back, I didn't think we were thinking like that."

    Lugo, who leads the Devil Rays with 29 RBI, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and a three-run homer in the sixth. Lugo was rested Sunday, just the second time he didn't start since last year's All-Star break.

    "Lugo had a big night," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "He swung the bat with authority."

    Zambrano (4-4) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings and struck out eight. He walked two, raising his major league-leading total to 46.

    "The thing that feels good is we've got five games in a row," Zambrano said. "I think that's the most important part. Win the games together."

    Zambrano had gone 0-4 with a 7.17 ERA in his previous seven starts and had walked 16 over six innings in his previous two outings.

    "It was night and day," Devil Rays catcher Brook Fordyce said. "He came out there and established his fastball over the corner of the plate. The team needed that. We're on a little roll here, he comes out and throws a gem."

    Zambrano watched videotapes with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez between starts and concentrated on his release point Tuesday en route to his first win since April 11.

    Tampa Bay's winning streak is its longest since the Devil Rays won six straight from Sept. 24-29, 2000. Tampa Bay (15-28) had lost its previous 11 games against the Twins.

    "If we could start winning a few baseball games, I thought our confidence would slowly start to get a little better," Piniella said.

    While the announced attendance was 8,571, the actual crowd appeared to be about 4,000. The game was played at the same time as the opener of the Stanley Cup finals in Tampa between the Lightning and Calgary.

    Kyle Lohse (1-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. Lohse, 0-2 in his last seven starts, was hit in the arm by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout Saturday.

    "I know what I'm capable of," Lohse said. "I know I can go out and shut a team a down. I've been really close this year. It's frustrating because the stats don't really look that good."

    Justin Morneau put the Twins ahead with a solo homer in the third, but Lugo built a 4-1 lead with his sacrifice fly and fifth homer of the season.

    "It was a tough night for us offensively," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't get many opportunities to score."

    Rocco Baldelli had an RBI double, and Tino Martinez hit a sacrifice fly off Aaron Fultz for a 6-1 lead in the seventh.

    "We're getting the hits at the right time," Lugo said. "I think we're clicking together."

    Game notes


    Baldelli was Tampa Bay's DH because of tightness in his right quadriceps. He went 2-for-4. Tampa Bay DH's entered hitting a combined .146. ... Morneau's homer was his second of the season and came in his 11th at-bat. ... Tampa Bay's bullpen -- including two innings Tuesday from RHP Lance Carter -- has not allowed a run in a team record 24 straight innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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