Cruz's three-run homer sinks D-Backs

PHOENIX (AP) -- Randy Johnson's momentum was no match for Tampa

The Devil Rays stretched their franchise-record winning streak
to nine games, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks' ace 6-2 Friday
night behind Jose Cruz Jr.'s three-run homer.

Rey Sanchez added a run-scoring triple and Geoff Blum an RBI
double for the Devil Rays, who have won 20 of 26 overall and have
the best interleague record in the majors at 9-1. They also snapped
Johnson's six-game winning streak in the first meeting between
these 1998 expansion teams.

"We're getting hits at the right time," Julio Lugo said. "I
think we're going to give a hard time to anybody that faces us."

John Halama (3-1), put in the rotation after 2{ months in the
bullpen, allowed two runs on six hits and a walk in five innings in
his first start since Sept. 4, when he pitched for Oakland in a 7-5
loss at Baltimore.

The win was Halama's first as a starter since beating the
Orioles 6-4 in Oakland on Aug. 28.

Jorge Sosa pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Tampa

Johnson (9-5) started his best winning streak in three years
with a perfect game against Atlanta on May 18. He retired his first
seven batters Friday night, but the Devil Rays got to him for three
runs in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth.

After that, Johnson was lifted for reliever Scott Service, who
allowed Blum's RBI double in the seventh.

"It didn't seem like he was throwing as hard as I've seen him
throw in the past," said Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella, who
managed Johnson in Seattle. "But Randy competes. I remember when I
first got there how he used to throw a lot of pitches. Now, he

Johnson was charged with five runs on eight hits and a walk in
six innings. He struck out four, matching a season low.

"They just hit him," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "He
made very few mistakes in the game, and when he did they hit him."

But Johnson didn't see it that way.

"This was a bad game, a poorly pitched game on my part," he
said. "And when you don't have your good stuff against a team
that's playing well, it shows."

Johnson, who gave up two runs in the first inning in a 5-3 win
at Toronto on Sunday, looked sharp until Jose Bautista singled in
the third. Lugo also singled, but the game remained scoreless.

Rocco Baldelli beat out an infield single to start the fourth,
and Aubrey Huff singled to set the table for Cruz, who lined his
10th homer into the Diamondbacks' bullpen for a 3-0 lead.

"It felt good and I started running," Cruz said. "I can't
tell you it was the kind of thing that was calculated or anything
like that. I was just swinging and made good contact."

Arizona cut the deficit to 3-2 in its half of the fourth on an
RBI triple by Luis Gonzalez and Shea Hillenbrand's sacrifice fly.

But with one out in the sixth, Huff singled sharply into the gap
and advanced to second when the ball went between Gonzalez's legs
for an error and rolled to the wall.

Huff went to third on a passed ball by Robby Hammock before
Johnson walked Cruz. Toby Hall had a sacrifice fly and Sanchez hit
an opposite-field triple off the right-field fence to account for
the last two runs off Johnson.

"I coughed two right back," Halama said. "That's not
something that I wanted to do, but I was able to maintain a one-run
lead after that, so that was a good thing about it -- instead of
squandering it."

Game notes
Johnson hadn't won six straight since he won eight in a row
in 10 appearances (nine starts) from June 29-Aug. 18, 2001. ...
Piniella has 1,412 wins as a manager, one short of Miller Huggins
for 20th on the career list. ... Halama was part of the July 31,
1998, trade that sent Johnson from Seattle to Houston.