Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 2-0 (as of 6/26)

Game 1: Friday, June 25
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Tampa Bay2
Game 2: Saturday, June 26
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Tampa Bay6
Game 3: Sunday, June 27
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Tampa Bay4

Marlins 4

(39-35, 19-18 away)

Devil Rays 6

(36-35, 21-15 home)

    6:15 PM ET, June 26, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    FLA 000400000 4 7 0
    TB 04000011 - 6 7 0

    W: J. Sosa (2-0)

    L: J. Manzanillo (0-1)

    S: D. Baez (15)

    Crawford drives Tampa Bay again

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Now that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have turned their season around, they refuse to place a ceiling on what they can accomplish.

    The perennial last-place team beat the Florida Marlins 6-4 on Saturday night to become the first club in major league history to climb above .500 at any point in a season after being 18 games below.

    "Why stop there?" Carl Crawford said after driving in three runs, including a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning, to pace the club's record-tying 13th consecutive interleague victory and 15th win in 16 games overall.

    "We're playing well," Crawford added. "Let's see what we can do. Who knows what can happen?"

    Tampa Bay was 10-28 after losing 19 of 22 from April 25-May 19. But their turnaround, which included a club-record 12-game winning streak, has them at 36-35 -- the latest point in a season they've been above .500.

    The Devil Rays improved the majors' best interleague record to 13-1 by matching the 13-game run the New York Yankees began against NL opponents last year. The San Diego Padres snapped the Yankees' streak on June 11.

    The 1899 Louisville Colonels are the only other team to get back to .500 after being 18 games below, but they never got over the break-even point and finished 75-77. Tampa Bay's success has carried it from last in the AL East to third, four games behind second-place Boston.

    "I haven't noticed anything. We've got to play," Piniella said of creeping up on the Red Sox.

    "That's a credit to the players. They're the ones who've got it done. They've played hard and very well. It's been impressive. It's good to do things nobody else has done."

    Crawford had two hits for the seventh straight game and stole his AL-leading 33rd base. He had a two-run single in the second, and snapped a 4-4 tie with an RBI double off Matt Perisho in the seventh.

    Joey Gathright scored the go-ahead run after drawing a walk from Josias Manzanillo (0-1) and stealing second.

    Aubrey Huff added a solo homer off Ben Howard in the eighth to make it 6-4.

    The Marlins have lost three straight and at 39-35, fell one percentage point behind the Philadelphia Phillies for first in the NL East.

    "We get the runs and no pitching. Then we get pitching and no runs," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

    "We've just got to weather the storm, keep battling, keep plugging away, don't give up," he said. "It'll turn. We're due for a nice, long streak, and we'll be like the Devil Rays. Maybe coming in here and playing three games will energize us."

    Reliever Jorge Sosa (2-0) pitched three scoreless innings to get the win. Danys Baez worked the ninth for his 15th save in 17 opportunities, getting Miguel Cabrera to ground into a force play with the bases loaded to end it.

    Crawford drove in Tampa Bay's first two runs with a bases-loaded single off Marlins starter Michael Tejera. Geoff Blum followed with a two-run single to finish a four-run second, however Devil Rays left-hander Mark Hendrickson couldn't hold the 4-0 lead.

    The Marlins, held hitless by the Devil Rays' Dewon Brazelton until Mike Lowell doubled with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 loss Friday night, snapped a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings after loading the bases with one out on a single, walk and a hit batter in the fourth.

    Hee Seop Choi's dribbler that Hendrickson fielded up the first-base line drove in Florida's first run. Alex Gonzalez tripled to center to drive in two more, and Damion Easley's RBI double made it 4-4.

    Hendrickson allowed four runs and five hits in four innings.

    Tejera went five innings in his first start of the season, giving up four runs on five hits before being replaced by Manzanillo.

    The Marlins stranded the potential go-ahead run in the seventh after Easley walked, moved to second on Luis Castillo's infield single and took third on a fielder's choice. Sosa struck out Cabrera, who fanned three times, to end the threat.

    "The last couple of games, we're really not scoring runs. Not enough offense," Cabrera said. "That's why we're losing. We got our chances to score, but we didn't."

    Game notes


    The latest the Devil Rays had been over .500 before Saturday night was 22-21 on May 21, 1999. ... The Devil Rays didn't win their 36th game last season until their 100th game on July 24. ... Marlins special assistant to the president Andre Dawson was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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