ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Hit by hit, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
shrugged off the frustration of a season-high seven-game losing
Jorge Cantu hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, putting a
3-for-23 road trip behind him to help the Devil Rays beat the
Baltimore Orioles 14-7 on Friday night to end the longest skid to
open the second half of a season in the AL since Detroit lost its
first eight following the All-Star break in 1995.
Arizona dropped 11 straight coming out of the break in 2004.
"It's one game, only one game," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon
said after his team scored six in the first inning, five in the
fourth and finished with 17 hits. The 14 runs were a season high
and were only three fewer than the total Tampa Bay scored during
the losing streak.
"One good night," Maddon added, "doesn't necessarily cure
Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Julio Lugo also homered in
support of left-hander Casey Fossum (4-3), who overcame a shaky
first inning to win for the first time since June 28. The Devil
Rays hadn't won since beating the New York Yankees in the final
game before the All-Star break.
"What happened on the road trip," Cantu said, "that's in the
Cantu hit his first career grand slam off Adam Loewen in the
fourth inning. He also had an RBI double during a six-run first
against Russ Ortiz (0-2), who didn't retire any of the six batters
he faced after getting the start because Erik Bedard was out with
Crawford hit a two-run homer in the first, Navarro had a solo
shot off Eddy Rodriguez in the fifth and Lugo added a two-run homer
off Rodriguez in the seventh. Ty Wigginton and Travis Lee each
drove in two runs for Tampa Bay, which had its highest scoring game
of the season. The six-run first was the Devil Rays' biggest inning
of the year.
"Obviously he wasn't on top of his game," Maddon said. "We
jumped on him early."
Fossum allowed three runs and three hits in five innings. He
walked four, including three of the first five batters he faced.
After throwing 10 consecutive balls to begin the game, Fossum gave
up an RBI double to Miguel Tejada. Ramon Hernandez's sacrifice fly
made it 2-0 before Ortiz took the mound.
But as poorly as Fossum pitched in the first, Ortiz was worse in
his fourth start since being released by Arizona and signing with
Baltimore last month.
The right-hander, who is 1-16 in 22 starts dating to May 2005,
allowed hits to five of the six men he faced, including Crawford's
homer and RBI doubles to Wigginton and Cantu. The sixth batter
faced walked and scored on Lee's two-run single off Loewen, who
replaced Ortiz with runners at second and third.
"You just have to write that one off. It was an emergency
situation," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He was willing to
take the ball. It just didn't work out."
Ortiz, who has allowed five homers and 19 runs in 12 innings
with the Orioles, didn't make excuses.
"As much as I'd like to ... I can't," Ortiz said, adding that
it wasn't that difficult to prepare for the start on short notice.
"I had plenty of time to do my normal routine."
Perlozzo is hopeful Bedard, who is 11-6 and has won six
consecutive starts, will be able to pitch Sunday's series finale.
Loewen, who allowed five runs and five hits in four innings, had
been Sunday's scheduled starter.
Baltimore pitchers have yielded 133 homers, including eight
grand slams. ... Crawford snapped an 0-for-13 stretch with his home
run. ... The Orioles purchased the contract of 3B Fernando Tatis
from Triple-A Ottawa. ... Orioles C Javy Lopez sat out his fourth
consecutive game because of lower back pain. ... Cantu matched his
career high with five RBI. He also had five against the Los
Angeles Angels on Aug. 25, 2005.