Final

Series: Game 2 of 2

Series tied 1-1 (as of 6/6)

Game 1: Friday, June 4
Tampa Bay8Final
in 11
Baltimore7
Game 2: Saturday, June 5
Tampa BayPostponed
Baltimore
Game 2: Sunday, June 6
Tampa Bay4Final
Baltimore5

Devil Rays 4

(21-33, 7-19 away)

Orioles 5

(25-27, 13-14 home)

    1:35 PM ET, June 6, 2004

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 012000001 4 12 0
    BAL 01031000 - 5 11 0

    W: R. Lopez (5-2)

    L: R. Bell (1-3)

    S: J. Julio (9)

    Baltimore 5, Tampa Bay 4

    BALTIMORE (AP) -- With every start, Rodrigo Lopez is putting more distance between himself and the Baltimore Orioles' bullpen.

    Lopez turned in his second straight solid performance and Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez both had two hits and scored twice, leading the Orioles past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-4 Sunday.

    B.J. Surhoff drove in two runs for the Orioles, who had lost four in a row since Lopez beat Boston on Monday.

    Lopez began the season in the bullpen, where he went 3-1 with a 0.33 ERA. After being moved to the rotation on May 20, the right-hander went 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA in his first two starts.

    But he has since won two in a row, allowing only four runs over 11 2-3 innings.

    "It was tough for him when he began starting, because all year he was throwing one inning, two innings, maybe three," Palmeiro said. "I think he's over the hump now, and I expect him to pitch like that all the time."

    Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli is beginning to feel the same way.

    "If he keeps going like this, it's encouraging," Mazzilli said. "Every time you throw him out there, you know you have a chance."

    Lopez (5-2) gave up three runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings, but left with a 5-3 lead.

    "If I keep my team in the game, I know they can score some runs," said Lopez, who has made no secret of his desire to remain in the rotation. "I think I've proven what I can do as a starter."

    After being reminded that the Baltimore bullpen has struggled since his departure, Lopez smiled sheepishly and said, "That's not my fault."

    Jorge Julio, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his ninth save. He allowed a sacrifice fly to Rocco Baldelli before retiring Tino Martinez with two outs and runners on the corners.

    Baldelli homered for the Devil Rays, Rey Sanchez had two hits and an RBI, and Aubrey Huff had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games -- three short of his career high.

    Tampa Bay, which went 3-1 in Minnesota and 1-1 in Baltimore, needed a victory Sunday to complete what would have been the most successful road trip in franchise history.

    Manager Lou Piniella was content with 4-2, the Devil Rays' best trip since their franchise-record 5-2 excursion in August 1999.

    "We played good the whole trip," Piniella said. "If we can win four out of six the rest of the year, they don't have to keep records."

    Baltimore went up 4-3 with a three-run fourth. Palmeiro singled and Lopez doubled before Surhoff hit a run-scoring grounder. Luis Matos then got an infield single, Larry Bigbie hit a sacrifice fly and Brian Roberts drove in a run with a ground-rule double.

    The Devil Rays argued that Matos was out at first, but umpire John Hirschbeck ruled otherwise.

    "I didn't think it was that close," said shortstop Julio Lugo, who delayed his throw while looking Lopez back to third. "I think that was the key to the game."

    The Orioles added a run in the fifth and chased Rob Bell (1-3). With two outs, Lopez, Surhoff and Matos all hit singles. Lopez scored on a close play at the plate, bringing out Piniella, who vehemently argued the call by plate umpire Bill Welke.

    Piniella then pulled Bell, who yielded five runs and 10 hits in his shortest outing this year.

    After a two-out RBI single by Sanchez put Tampa Bay up 1-0 in the second, Surhoff singled in a run in the bottom half.

    Baldelli led off the third with his fifth home run before Huff singled, stole second and scored on a single by Lugo.

    But the lead wouldn't last.

    "We had our chances but I didn't come through in my situations," said Martinez, who went 0-for-5 and stranded six runners. "Still, we've been playing better baseball, and hopefully it will continue."

    Game notes


    Julio's only two blown saves this season have been against Tampa Bay. ... Roberts stole second in the sixth, giving the Orioles 14 steals in their last nine games. They lead the majors with 52. ... Baldelli was 1-for-10 lifetime against Lopez before his homer.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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