MIAMI (AP) -- Sitting in the clubhouse with ice bags wrapped
tightly around his right shoulder and elbow, A.J. Burnett pumped
his fist after the final out.
It was a small celebration for a big victory.
Burnett won for the first time in nearly two years, Miguel
Cabrera hit his 20th homer and the Florida Marlins snapped a
four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil
Rays on Sunday.
"It's definitely good to get back on track," Burnett said.
Burnett gave up six hits and three runs in 7 2/3 innings and won
for the first time since Aug. 18, 2002 -- ending a career-high
winless span of 15 outings. He struck out six, walked none and even
got his first hit of the season.
The hard-throwing right-hander missed most of last season and
part of this one while recovering from elbow surgery.
"His fastball was jumping and he had a sharp curve," Tampa
Bay's Aubrey Huff said. "That was one of the best performances
against us that I've seen this year. He had a lot of things working
Burnett (1-3) made his seventh start of the season Sunday on
three days' rest after throwing just 30 pitches in a rain-shortened
start in Atlanta. He came out strong, allowing three singles
through seven innings before running into trouble in the eighth.
Armando Benitez got the final four outs for his 27th save in 29
"We made it a close one," Rays manager Lou Piniella said.
"Anytime you win two out of three you're not going to complain. We
had a chance to win it or at least tie it in the ninth, but we
couldn't come up with enough."
The Rays lost for just the fifth time in 19 games and finished
interleague play 15-3 after going 3-15 last season.
"We're not going to play 30-10 ball forever, but we're capable
of playing real good baseball," Piniella said.
The Marlins, who entered the game having scored just five runs
in their last 33 innings, hit three homers and led 4-0 after six
Damion Easley, subbing for second baseman Luis Castillo, hit a
two-run shot in the third off John Halama (4-3). It was his fifth
of the season and helped the Marlins win for just the sixth time in
"We've got to string some wins together," Easley said. "But
you need that first one before you can get the second."
Cabrera made it 3-0 with a solo shot in the fifth. And Alex
Gonzalez hit his ninth homer in the sixth, also a solo shot.
Cabrera doubled and singled in his first two at-bats, and the
home run left him a triple short of hitting for the cycle. He
grounded out in his final at-bat.
Halama gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings. He
also hit three batters.
Two batters later, and with two outs, Easley drove Halama's
pitch over the wall in left.
"We needed this victory big time because we've been in a rut,"
McGriff, seven homers shy of 500, made his fifth start of
the season at first base and went 1-for-3 with a double. ... The
Marlins have had three four-game losing streaks this season, the
same number they had all of last year. ... Rocco Baldelli made his
first start in center field since June 23, when he injured his left
quadriceps muscle. He went 2-for-4.