A month ago, those misdeeds would have resulted in an ugly loss.
But the Devil Rays are in the midst of the most torrid stretch
in franchise history, and Tampa Bay escaped with an 8-7 victory
over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Julio Lugo led off the 11th inning with his fourth hit and
scored the tiebreaking run on a pinch-single by Fred McGriff. That
was enough to give the Devil Rays an 11-4 record since May 19 --
their best stretch over a 15-game span.
Tino Martinez hit a three-run homer for the Devil Rays, who blew
a five-run lead before rallying to force extra innings. Tampa Bay
has won three straight and 11 of 15.
"We made some mistakes and we gave the lead away, but we're
starting to show some confidence as a team," Devil Rays manager
Lou Piniella said. "It's starting to show. We're winning some
That wasn't as distressing to manager Lee Mazzilli as the fact
that Baltimore twice blew one-run leads.
"You've got to hold them down when you get the lead," Mazzilli
said. "We came back, took the lead and took the lead again. But we
gave it up."
The game was played in a steady shower that was heavy at times,
but plate umpire Lazaro Diaz never called for the tarp.
Lugo opened the 11th with a grounder to short off Mike DeJean
(0-5) that was ruled a single when Tejada fell on the muddy
infield. Lugo stole second on a pitchout and took third on a wild
pitch before McGriff singled past the drawn-up infield.
Mazzilli refused to blame the elements for the defeat.
"Both sides played on the same field," he said. "You've got
to deal with the elements."
"The kids stayed with it. We were lucky," Piniella said. "You
put on that many on via walks ..."
Rafael Palmeiro, who earlier stranded seven runners, followed
two walks with a sacrifice fly to put Baltimore up 7-6 in the
eighth. But the Devil Rays pulled even against Jorge Julio in the
ninth, loading the bases with no outs before Jose Cruz drove in a
run with a grounder.
Down 5-0, the Orioles fought back against Zambrano in the third.
Two hits and a walk loaded the bases for Mora, who hit the first
pitch over the center-field wall. It was his team-high 11th home
run; he hit 15 all last season.
Baltimore went up 6-5 in the fourth. Brian Roberts hit a
sacrifice fly and Zambrano walked Tejada with the bases loaded to
force in a run.
Zambrano allowed six runs, four hits and six walks in 3 2-3
"You can have a bad game, but what you're looking for is for
the team to win the game," he said. "The team won. That's the
most important thing."
Tampa Bay got an unearned run in the first when Aubrey Huff hit
an RBI single after Mora made his team-high 14th error at third
The Devil Rays made it 5-0 in the third. After Huff drove in a
run with a grounder, Martinez lined an 0-2 pitch high off the
right-field foul pole.
"You put five runs on the board with your No. 1 starter in the
game, you feel good," Piniella said.
Baltimore starter Erik Bedard finished the inning, but was done
for the night following a shaky 87-pitch effort in which he allowed
four earned runs, five hits and two walks.
After Rick Bauer provided three innings of one-hit relief, B.J.
Ryan yielded a game-tying RBI single to Cruz in the seventh.
Martinez has eight homers in his last 14 road games. ...
The Orioles have 28 homers in their last 21 games. ... Bauer was
recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on Friday; RHP Darwin Cubillan was
designated for assignment.