Series: Game 3 of 3

Tampa Bay won 3-0

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 4

(29-34, 10-19 away)

Padres 1

(33-32, 16-15 home)

    10:05 PM ET, June 17, 2004

    Petco Park, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000002110 4 5 0
    SD 000010000 1 10 3

    W: C. Gaudin (1-1)

    L: A. Eaton (3-7)

    S: D. Baez (13)

    TB: Franchise-record eight straight wins

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- After testing the depths of Petco Park in his first two at-bats, Fred McGriff uncoiled his smooth swing and sent his 493rd career home run sailing into -- naturally -- the home run porch down the right-field line.

    McGriff pumped his fist as he rounded first base, having taken another step toward his goal of 500 homers and helping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays extend their franchise-record winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

    "It felt good because it's been a lot of years," said McGriff, who tied Lou Gehrig for 21st on the career list. "Home runs are tough. This is a big yard. It's 411 in right-center, 402 in left-center. I found the spot."

    McGriff hit his two-run homer just over the 322 sign, on a 1-0 changeup from Adam Eaton in the sixth inning. He flied out to left in his first at-bat and to center in his second.

    "Freddy placed it right where it carries pretty good," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "I didn't think it was going out, but he hit it in the right spot and that really was the difference in the game."

    McGriff has homered in 43 ballparks in 18 big league seasons.

    McGriff was brought up from the minors May 29, resuming his quest to become the 20th player to hit 500 homers. He hit 84 homers while with the Padres from 1991 until being traded to Atlanta on July 18, 1993.

    "Right now, the goal is just to get to 500," McGriff said. "Not having played the first couple of months, it's a fight right now."

    The Devil Rays are enjoying watching McGriff approach the milestone.

    "It's a blessing to be here with him," winning pitcher Chad Gaudin said. "Every at-bat, it's like, 'C'mon, Freddy.' We want him to get to his goal."

    "He's had a heck of a career," manager Lou Piniella said.

    The Devil Rays also swept consecutive series for the first time in their seven-year history. Before starting this trip, they beat Colorado three straight in Tampa.

    The perennially woeful Devil Rays came into the series in fifth place in the AL East and jumped all the way to third.

    Gaudin (1-1), who pinch-ran for McGriff in the first two games of the series, won in his fifth career start. He allowed one run and seven hits in five innings, struck out four and walked one.

    Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.

    The Devil Rays had just five hits but the Padres, their offense still sputtering, wasted a superb effort by Eaton (3-7).

    The right-hander allowed one earned run and two hits in six innings in San Diego's season-high fifth straight loss. The Padres have dropped from first in the NL West to third during the slump.

    McGriff's homer gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. Rocco Baldelli was aboard on a fielding error by rookie shortstop Khalil Greene, the Padres' third miscue.

    "Obviously the way things are going for us right now, I mean, if something can go wrong it's going to go wrong," Eaton said. "

    Baldelli hit an RBI single in the seventh and Toby Hall an RBI double in the eighth.

    Jay Payton, moved up from sixth to leadoff in the Padres' order, hit a one-out triple in the fifth and scored on Mark Loretta's sacrifice fly.

    Payton came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth and struck out.

    "That was just a horrible ballgame for us tonight," Bochy said. "Play like that and you're going to get beat. We had a great pitching effort there by Adam, but we made too many mistakes and again we couldn't get the hit when we needed it."

    Game notes

    With his 1,411th career win as a manager, Piniella moved out of a tie with fellow Tampa native Al Lopez and into sole possession of 21st all-time. Piniella is two short of tying Miller Huggins for 20th. ... The Devil Rays swept their first road series since winning three straight at Toronto July 29-31. ... Tampa Bay faces Randy Johnson on Friday night at Phoenix. ... Piniella said McGriff won't start Friday night, but will get at least one start during the series at Bank One Ballpark, where he's never homered.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press