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Tampa Bay's Jones earns 199th save

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Juan Pierre provided a perfect
ending to a long day for the Florida Marlins.

Pierre tripled with the bases loaded in a four-run eighth
inning, helping his team -- which spent much of the previous night
sitting around in the Atlanta airport -- come from behind to beat
the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-4 on Friday night.

The Marlins loaded the bases in the eighth on Paul Lo Duca's
one-out double off Doug Waechter (3-5) and two walks.

Pierre greeted Lance Carter, the third pitcher of the inning,
with a triple over the head of center fielder Damon Hollins, who
earlier made a sensational catch to rob Lo Duca of an extra-base
hit.

"When I hit it I was like: `Please don't go back and catch this
one," Pierre said. "He had just made a spectacular catch against
(Lo Duca), and just the way my luck has been going, he would have
run that one down. ... It's good to be part of a big inning for us.
And to be on the RBI end of it was even bigger."

If Pierre had been more familiar with Tampa Bay's eighth-inning
woes, he wouldn't have worried at all.

Monday night was the sixth time in the past 24 games that the
Devil Rays have taken a lead into the eighth and lost. The Yankees
scored 13 runs in the eighth to finish a 20-11 win Tuesday night,
and Tampa Bay has been outscored 76-24 in the inning overall.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella didn't meet with reporters after
the game. His players didn't have any real answers, either.

"I don't know what to tell you about it," Carter said. "We're
giving it everything we've got. Regardless of whether it's gone
good or bad, we're out there battling."

Al Leiter took a three-hitter into the seventh inning for the
Marlins, who didn't arrive in Florida from Atlanta until about 7:30
a.m. because of mechanical problems with their plane.

Reliever Guillermo Mota (1-1) worked two-thirds of an inning and
got the win, despite allowing a run-scoring single that gave Tampa
Bay a 4-3 lead.

Jim Mecir pitched the eighth for Florida, which has beaten Tampa
Bay five straight dating to last season. Todd Jones worked the
ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances this season, and the 199th of
his career.

Jorge Cantu homered for the third time in two games and Alex S.
Gonzalez had three hits and drove in one run with a seventh-inning
single off Mota for Tampa Bay, which is 0-4 against Florida this
season.

Cantu, who homered twice in a 9-4 victory over the Yankees on
Thursday night, erased a 3-0 deficit with a three-run homer off
Leiter, who allowed four runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Gonzalez had two of the Devil Rays' three hits off Leiter,
including a pop fly that initially was scored an error when it fell
between Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo and right fielder Juan
Encarnacion. His third hit -- off Mota -- drove in Eduardo Perez from
second base for the 4-3 lead.

"I thought we had that game," Cantu said. "And in a blink of
an eye, it was gone."

Carlos Delgado had a two-run double off Waechter in the third
and the next batter, Mike Lowell, also doubled to give the Marlins
a 3-0 lead. Cantu's homer tied it 3-3 in the fourth.

Leiter got himself into trouble in the fourth by walking Carl
Crawford and Julio Lugo. Cantu's homer to left-center was his fifth
in eight games and hiked his team-leading season total to 12.

Waechter allowed five runs and nine hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Game notes
Florida's Alex Gonzalez singled in the fourth to extend his
hitting streak to a career-best 14 games. ... The Devil Rays are
3-13 in interleague play after going 15-3 last season. ... Castillo
snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a first-inning double. He drove in
the Marlins' final run with an infield hit. ... The Devil Rays
recalled demoted opening day starter Dewon Brazelton from Double-A
Montgomery and plan to use him in the bullpen. Reliever Lee Gardner
was sent to Triple-A Durham. ... Cantu's homer was the first
allowed by Leiter on the road this season.