Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 6/15)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 15
Tampa Bay5Final
San Diego2
Game 2: Wednesday, June 16
Tampa Bay9Final
San Diego6
Game 3: Thursday, June 17
Tampa Bay4Final
San Diego1

Devil Rays 5

(27-34, 8-19 away)

Padres 2

(33-30, 16-13 home)

    10:05 PM ET, June 15, 2004

    Petco Park, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 101030000 5 12 0
    SD 000001001 2 7 0

    W: M. Hendrickson (4-5)

    L: B. Lawrence (8-4)

    Huff hits three-run homer

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The worst team in the majors less than a month ago, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays suddenly have baseball's longest current winning streak.

    Aubrey Huff hit a three-run homer, Mark Hendrickson pitched into the eighth inning and the Devil Rays tied their franchise record with their sixth straight victory, 5-2 over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

    Heck, the Devil Rays aren't even in last place in the AL East anymore, jumping five percentage points ahead of Toronto, which lost at San Francisco.

    "Every day we come to the yard, everybody's joking around, having a great time" Huff said. "Nobody's down, everybody's talking. It makes it a lot more fun. When you go out there and have fun, you're going to win a lot more ballgames.

    "We were walking zombies the first month and a half of the year."

    The Devil Rays were 10-28 on May 19. They've gone 17-6 since May 20.

    With Oakland's eight-game winning streak ending at St. Louis, Tampa Bay has the longest current winning streak. The season-high six straight wins have come against teams from the NL West, baseball's weakest division. The Devil Rays won two against San Francisco and three against Colorado at home before starting a nine-game trip.

    "We're coming to the field every day knowing we have a good chance to win," Huff said.

    The Devil Rays have won six straight just four times in their seven-year existence. Their 27 wins are their most after 61 games.

    With Hendrickson (4-5) holding the Padres scoreless into the sixth, the Devil Rays beat up on Brian Lawrence (8-4), the Padres' best pitcher.

    The big hit came when Huff hit a hanging slider just over the home run porch down the right-field line on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the fifth. Jose Cruz Jr. was aboard on a single and Rocco Baldelli on a fielder's choice.

    Baldelli drove in Tampa Bay's first two runs, on a grounder in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third.

    "I didn't feel terrible, but I definitely didn't have the sharpness on my pitches, like I have had," Lawrence said.

    Lawrence, coming off an 8-1 win at Boston, was chased after allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one.

    "He's been so solid this year," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was just a little bit off tonight. He was close to getting us through the fifth there without his best stuff and Huff just got enough of that ball."

    Hendrickson, a former NBA forward making his 46th major league start, held the Padres scoreless until Brian Giles homered to right-center on a 2-0 pitch with one out in the sixth. It was Giles' 10th.

    The 6-foot-9 left-hander pitched 7 2-3 innings and allowed just six hits, including rookie Jon Knott's first two big league hits. Knott lined a single to center in the second for his first hit, and doubled in the seventh. Hendrickson struck out two and walked one.

    "The last three games, I've kept my focus a lot more," said Hendrickson, who has two wins and a no-decision in his last three starts.

    "We kind of chased too many pitches and didn't get ourselves good hitting counts," Giles said.

    Ramon Hernandez hit a solo homer off Danys Baez in the ninth to make it 5-2.

    Game notes

    Tampa Bay's last six-game winning streak was Sept. 24-29, 2000. ... Padres RHP Jake Peavy, on the DL since May 20 with a strained tendon in his right forearm, threw a bullpen session Tuesday and is tentatively scheduled to be activated July 2. Before then, he'll throw another bullpen, a simulated game and go on a minor league rehab assignment. ... Fred McGriff, who hit 84 of his 492 career homers while with San Diego from 1991-93, had a pinch-hit single in the ninth and was replaced by a pinch-runner. ... Cruz and Tino Martinez each had three hits.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press