Series: Game 3 of 3

Tampa Bay won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, June 8
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Tampa Bay3
Game 2: Wednesday, June 9
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in 10
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Game 3: Thursday, June 10
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Giants 2

(30-30, 15-16 away)

Devil Rays 5

(23-34, 16-15 home)

    7:15 PM ET, June 10, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    W: V. Zambrano (6-4)

    L: K. Rueter (2-6)

    S: J. Colome (1)

    Tampa Bay 5, San Francisco 2

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tantalizingly good at times, agonizingly bad at others. That's the book on Victor Zambrano, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Barry Bonds-less San Francisco Giants.

    The Tampa Bay right-hander apparently was so focused on his job after giving up an unearned run in the first inning that he was oblivious to holding the Giants hitless for so long in the Devil Rays' 5-2 victory Thursday night.

    "Until I gave up the hit, I didn't know," Zambrano said after the Devil Rays finished their first interleague series win in nearly two years.

    "The pitcher evidently wasn't aware and neither was the catcher. They were concentrating on the ball game," manager Lou Piniella added. "That's what you're supposed to do."

    Zambrano (6-4) lost his bid for a no-hitter when Damon Minor, filling in for Bonds as the Giants' designated hitter because the six-time NL MVP was attending a funeral, led off the seventh with a line drive single to right.

    Three hitters later, the Devil Rays starter was out of the game, leaving after giving up a single to Pedro Feliz and walking Dustan Mohr to load the bases. Reliever Trever Miller did his part to protect a 5-1 lead by striking out Michael Tucker, then Jesus Colome got Neifi Perez to foul out to end the threat.

    Colome worked out of a jam with two runners on in the eighth when he struck out Minor and Feliz. He then gave up a homer to Tucker in the ninth before finishing the five-hitter for his first save.

    Zambrano allowed two hits, walked six and struck out six in 6 1-3 innings to improve to 8-1 lifetime in interleague play. The 28-year-old right-hander had all of Tampa Bay's wins a year ago when the Devil Rays went 3-15 against NL opponents -- a record for interleague losses by a team in one season.

    "He's a pretty good pitcher, that Zambrano," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "One of the best breaking balls I've seen. Whenever he gets command of his fastball, he's going to pitch some no-hitters."

    By taking two of three against the Giants, the Devil Rays won an interleague series for the first time since June 28-30, 2002, when they took two of three from the Florida Marlins. The Giants dropped to 5-6 on a 14-game road trip -- the team's longest since 1989.

    Bonds missed the game to attend a funeral for the mother of a childhood friend in California. He's expected to rejoin the Giants in Baltimore for the start of a weekend series Friday night.

    "We missed the big guy," Alou said. "Especially when this team said they were going to pitch to him. There were many situations there."

    Without Bonds, the series finale drew an announced crowd of 10,630. The three-day average was 16,433, with a high of 25,495 on Wednesday night.

    Zambrano leads the majors in walks and hit batters and looked like he was headed for a typical outing when he walked the leadoff man in the first inning. Tucker raced to third on Tino Martinez's fielding error and scored on Marquis Grissom's sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Giants lead.

    The Devil Rays tied it in the second when Aubrey Huff singled off Kirk Rueter (2-6) and scored when Jose Cruz Jr. doubled.

    Rocco Baldelli, who didn't start the first two games of the series while recovering from a bout with food poisoning, snapped the fifth-inning tie with his sixth homer. The three-run blast down the left-field line came after Carl Crawford doubled and Julio Lugo walked with two outs.

    Zambrano, coming off an outing in which he didn't get through the fourth inning against Baltimore last Friday, also walked leadoff batters in the second and fourth, but didn't allow either of them past first base.

    Devil Rays catcher Brook Fordyce said the one of the keys Thursday night was establishing the slider against San Francisco's aggressive hitters.

    "We don't usually do that. We try to establish the fastball," Fordyce said.

    "With (Victor), you have to focus on one pitch at a time. ... It's not like he's getting hit when he gets beat. He walks guys. We want to make them put the ball in play, and they don't do it very often when he's in the strike zone."

    The Devil Rays chased Rueter in the sixth when Rey Sanchez's RBI double made it 5-1. The Giants starter allowed nine hits, walked three and struck out five.

    Game notes

    Zambrano threw 113 pitches, 67 of them strikes. ... The Giants' road trip is their longest since they also made a 14-game trek in 1989. ... Devil Rays RHP Doug Waechter was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in his right middle finger. RHP Chad Gaudin was recalled from Triple-A Durham.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press