Series: Game 2 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 2-0 (as of 6/12)

Game 1: Friday, June 11
in 10
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Game 2: Saturday, June 12
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Game 3: Sunday, June 13
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Rockies 7

(21-40, 8-24 away)

Devil Rays 10

(25-34, 18-15 home)

    6:15 PM ET, June 12, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    W: J. Halama (2-1)

    L: T. Harikkala (1-1)

    D-Rays 15-6 since May 20

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The surging Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in the midst of their best stretch ever.

    Toby Hall and Tino Martinez hit consecutive homers in the seventh inning, leading the Devil Rays to a 10-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

    Tampa Bay is 15-6 since May 20, its best record over a 21-game span.

    "Now we're playing like I felt we were capable of playing," Martinez said. "It's been a lot of fun."

    Hall gave the Devil Rays an 8-7 lead with a two-run shot off Tim Harikkala (1-1), and Martinez followed with his 310th career homer.

    John Halama (2-1) earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief for the Devil Rays, who equaled their best record after 59 games at 25-34.

    "The hitters deserve all the credit today," Halama said.

    After Halama's latest strong outing that lowered his ERA to 2.76 over 14 relief appearances, he will join the rotation and start next weekend at Arizona.

    "He deserves the opportunity," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "I think he's earned it."

    Matt Holliday hit his first career grand slam during Colorado's six-run sixth inning that put the Rockies up 7-5. Colorado has lost seven straight, and 19 of 23.

    "We showed up huge in the sixth inning after rumbling and stumbling and bumbling out there a little bit," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "We can't get away with anything right now. You really can't get away with a whole lot at this level anyway unless you're a very talented team."

    Todd Helton went 2-for-3, including a run-scoring single in the first, for Colorado. He has nine hits in 13 at-bats with eight RBI over the past three games.

    Helton said he was fine after getting hit just above the left wrist by a pitch from Halama in the ninth. He'll be evaluated Sunday.

    "If we don't get better, we're going to break some kind of record," Helton said. "When it boils down, it's no fun and it's not a good thing to be going through."

    Tampa Bay had just two baserunners -- both walks -- through four innings, but took a 5-1 lead with a five-run fifth inning.

    Hall singled off Shawn Estes, who then hit two of next three batters to load the bases with one out. Rey Sanchez, who hit an inside-the-park walkoff homer Friday night, lined a single to right to drive in a run, and another run scored when right fielder Jeromy Burnitz couldn't field the ball cleanly for an error.

    Lugo hit a two-run single, and Aubrey Huff had a run-scoring single to put the Devil Rays up 5-1.

    It took Tampa Bay starter Rob Bell just four batters into the sixth to blow the four-run lead.

    The Rockies loaded the bases with no outs before Holliday hit his ninth homer to tie it at 5 and end Bell's night. Colorado added two more runs on Choo Freeman's RBI grounder and Aaron Miles' run-scoring single off Travis Harper.

    "It's frustrating," Bell said. "It's tough to put your team in a situation like that."

    Estes was lifted after loading the bases -- on two walks and a single -- in the sixth with no outs. Harikkala came in and allowed one runner to score -- on Robert Fick's sacrifice fly -- that got Tampa Bay within 7-6.

    Estes allowed six runs, five hits, four walks and hit two batters in five-plus innings.

    Bell gave up five runs and seven hits over five-plus innings.

    Game notes

    Piniella won his 1,407th game, moving past Jimmy Dykes into 22nd place all-time. ... Martinez tied Jay Buhner for 92nd on the career home runs list. ... Estes also had control problems when asking for a new baseball in the fifth. During the exchange, he threw the ball to the backstop. ... Devil Rays OF Rocco Baldelli was out of the line up with a sprained ligament in his left thumb, but came in to play center field in the ninth. ... Freeman made a leaping grab into the center-field wall on Carl Crawford's drive in the third. ... Sanchez's walk-off inside the park homer Friday was the first in interleague play. It was also the first by an AL player since Minnesota's Tim Teufel on June 24, 1984.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press