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Crawford supplies power as Devil Rays swat Nats

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Carl Crawford had heard so many things about
how spacious RFK Stadium was that power hitting was the last thing
on his mind as the Devil Rays started a series with the Nationals.

He thought the park's dimensions were just fine afterward.

Crawford hit a pair of two-run homers, Tim Corcoran tossed seven
shutout innings and Tampa Bay beat Washington 11-1 Friday night.

"I didn't hit one out in batting practice so I was definitely
just trying to hit line drives," Crawford said after his third
career multihomer game. "I wasn't even thinking about home runs
today."

Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Damon Hollins also homered for
Tampa Bay, which set a season high for runs and tied their season
best with 17 hits. The Devil Rays finished June with a 14-13
record.

Corcoran (2-0) allowed three hits in his third career start with
Tampa Bay.

Washington, reeling after a 1-8 road trip to Boston, Baltimore
and Toronto, had its worst loss of the season. The RFK Stadium
crowd of 21,854 reserved most of its noise to boo the home team,
which lost its fourth straight.

At the midway point, the Nationals are a season-worst 15 games
under .500 and in last place in the National League East. Last
year, the Nationals were 50-31 and in first place after 81 games.

Second baseman Jose Vidro, who was drafted out of high school by
the Montreal Expos in 1992 and remained in the organization through
the team's toughest years -- before sparse crowds at Olympic Stadium
and in "home" series in Puerto Rico -- said this stretch has been
the worst.

"Looking back at the times back at Montreal, and the times here
last year I don't remember, this organization, this ballclub being
this bad," Vidro said. "It's frustrating. ... In the time that
I've been here this is the worst."

Corcoran struck out eight and walked three, and allowed only one
Nationals runner to reach third. He has allowed two runs in 15 1-3
innings this year.

Not bad for a minor league journeyman, who was twice selected in
the Rule 5 draft and had a 5.96 ERA in 10 major league appearances
last year.

"I felt like I could throw it and get outs," Corcoran said.
"I felt like I could throw any pitch in there and get an out. I
just let the infielders play."

Nationals rookie Michael O'Connor (3-5) struggled in five
innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and two home runs in his
shortest outing since May 13. Reliever Jason Bergmann followed with
two rough innings, giving up six runs and nine hits, including
three home runs.

Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo led off the third with a single for his
eighth consecutive plate appearance reaching base and Crawford
followed with a home run to right field to make it 3-0. In the
fifth, Crawford reached on an infield single to lead off the
inning, and Baldelli followed with a home run to increase the lead
to five.

Crawford and Cantu both hit two-run homers off Bergmann in the
sixth. It was Crawford's 12th drive of the season and Cantu's
fourth.

"We do have some power but our biggest concern is hitting with
runners in scoring position and we did that," manager Joe Maddon
said.

Lugo went 3-for-5 and scored two runs and Crawford went 3-for-4
and scored three times.

Ryan Zimmerman singled in Royce Clayton in the eighth for the
Nationals.

Game notes
Nationals LHP Mike Stanton made the 1,071st appearance of
his career, tying him for third on the career list with
Hall-of-Famer Dennis Eckersley. Jesse Orosco is first with 1,252,
followed by John Franco's 1,119. ... Lugo singled in the first,
third and seventh, giving him 17 hits in his last 27 at-bats. ...
3B Aubrey Huff doubled three times, tying a Tampa Bay record
achieved six previous times. Huff is 26-for-55 in interleague play;
he entered the game with the majors' third-best average in
interleague play. ... The Devil Rays' last shutout was June 5
against the Los Angeles Angels. ... Tampa Bay improved to 11-5 in
interleague play. The Nationals dropped to 5-11.