McGriff's first homer of season lifts Devil Rays

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Fred McGriff's first homer of the season sent
the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on their way to a rare road win.

McGriff's two-run shot, the 492nd homer of his career, opened
the scoring as the Devil Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 Monday.

McGriff, making his second start for the Devil Rays since he was
brought up from the minor leagues Friday, homered for the first
time since last Sept. 2. The homer off Seth Greisinger (2-4) landed
in the first row of the upper deck in right field.

Asked if he knew the ball was gone when he hit it, McGriff
replied, "No, that was my first homer in a long time, so you never

He also downplayed the race to 500 homers, a feat accomplished
only by 19 players.

"One at a time," McGriff said. "I'm here to hit the ball. I'm
trying to make adjustments. I've survived a lot of years by making

Tampa Bay, just 4-17 on the road this season, ended an
eight-game road losing streak overall and a seven-game losing
streak at the Metrodome that dated to Aug. 19, 2001.

Rob Bell (1-2) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings
to win for the first time in four starts since beating Toronto last
Sept. 22.

"You want to raise the bar and get the road trip off to a good
start," Bell said.

Tino Martinez hit a solo homer for Tampa Bay and scored twice.

Minnesota has lost eight of 11 and was 12-16 in May.

"This is just a bump we're going through right now," the
Twins' Jacque Jones said. "I don't think anyone's panicking."

Bell, like teammate Victor Zambrano on Sunday, watched the
bullpen hang on. On Sunday, it gave up six runs over the final two
innings in a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees.

Jorge Sosa, who gave up four runs Sunday, started the eighth by
loading the bases with walks to Cristian Guzman and Lew Ford, and a
single by Michael Cuddyer.

Trever Miller relieved and got Doug Mientkiewicz to hit into a
double play as a run scored, then struck out Corey Koskie.

After Toby Hall's two-run single gave the Devil Rays a four-run
cushion, Lance Carter pitched a perfect ninth.

Greisinger gave up five runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Mientkiewicz's RBI double scored Guzman to cut the Devil Rays'
lead to 2-1 in the third, but Greisinger hung a pitch in the fourth
to Martinez, who hit his eighth homer.

Henry Blanco homered leading off the fifth, cutting the lead to
3-2, but Greisinger gave up Aubrey Huff's RBI double and Jose Cruz
Jr.'s sacrifice fly in the bottom half. Bell retired the next nine

"Every time we scored a run, our pitchers gave it right back,"
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's demoralizing."

Game notes
The seven runs tied the most by the Devil Rays in a road
game this season. They scored seven on three previous occasions.
... Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella won his 1,400th game, 23rd on
the career list. ... The Twins hadn't had a losing record in May
since 2000. ... Ford was hit on the left arm by Bell's pitch in the
first inning. After he was examined by Twins trainer Jim Kahmann,
Ford stayed in the game. ... The game opened a 13-game homestand
for the Twins. ... Tampa Bay was 10-16 in May.