ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Walks and missed opportunities put
an end to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' longest winning streak since
Jacque Jones had a go-ahead, two-run double and the Minnesota
Twins defeated the Devil Rays 4-2, putting an end to Tampa Bay's
five-game winning streak on Wednesday night.
Jose Cruz Jr., last week's AL player of the week, hit a two-run
triple for the Devil Rays, who hadn't managed such a good run since
winning six in a row Sept. 24-29, 2000.
"We've been playing better," Tampa Bay outfielder Robert Fick
said. "We lost a tough one tonight."
Starter Seth Greisinger (2-3) allowed two runs and six hits over
five innings, and Jones gave the Twins a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Minnesota's bullpen made the lead stand up.
Nathan worked the ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities.
He has not allowed a run in his last 18 appearances, covering 19
"Every win is important," Jones said. "I don't care if it's
against the Devil Rays, the White Sox, Rangers, Yankees."
Matthew LeCroy put the Twins up 1-0 with a run-scoring single in
the first, but Cruz gave the Devil Rays a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Cruz was left stranded at third when Greisinger retired Julio
Lugo, Fick and Toby Hall, who also hit into an inning-ending double
play with two on in the second.
"I just tried to settle down and get ahead of the hitters,"
Jones possibly cost the Twins another run after making it 3-2 in
the fifth when he was caught leaning off second base by reliever
Travis Harper and tagged out following a rundown. LeCroy followed
with a two-out single to center.
"It's stupid and it's wrong," Bell said. "I understand that.
It's not a game you can play and not expect to make mistakes, but
those are avoidable mistakes."
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella disgustedly agreed.
"You got the ninth hitter coming up ... make him hit the
ball," he said. "You give up walks and they score."
Carl Crawford singled and stole second with one out in the
bottom of fifth, but he was then thrown out trying to steal third.
Crawford leads the AL with 22 stolen bases.
Bell (0-2) gave up three runs and four hits in 4 1-3 innings. He
threw 85 pitches.
"We're not clicking right now offensively," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "We're not on everything, but we're putting forth
a good effort. That's all I look for."
Cruz has 10 RBI over the past eight games. ... Twins 3B
Corey Koskie (sternum) will be activated from the 15-day disabled
list Thursday. He played in an extended spring training game
Wednesday. ... Minnesota OF Michael Restovich was optioned to
Triple-A Rochester. ... Devil Rays CF Rocco Baldelli (right
quadricpes) was the DH for the second straight game. He has a hit
in seven straight and 12 of his last 13 games. .... Minnesota C Joe
Mauer (left knee) was 3-for-4 in a rehabilitation assignment with
Class-A Fort Myers on Wednesday. He could rejoin the Twins next
week. ... Fick snapped an 0-for-18 slide with a second-inning
single. It was just his second hit in 42 at bats. ... Ford was
3-for-3 with a two walks.