ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- B.J. Upton impressed his manager and
may have won over the fans.
The rookie third baseman had an RBI single in a two-run seventh
inning and reliever Seth McClung won for first time since May as
the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Thursday
Upton, playing his third game since being called up from
Triple-A Durham, singled to center to tie the game at 1 off
reliever Joel Zumaya. The go-ahead run scored when he was caught in
a rundown after rounding first base.
"I mean, really, Zumaya is throwing about 98 (mph) and B.J. got
that pitch easily and hit it right back where it came from," Devil
Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That is a nice sign. That's
enjoyable. That's special."
A majority of the 13,808 in attendance Tuesday night booed Upton
before he singled in his first at-bat. Upton, and minor league
outfielders Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes were quoted in a
published report last week in which they complained about the
conditions at Durham and wondered why they hadn't been called up to
the major league club.
There was nothing but cheers for him Thursday.
"I just got a good pitch to hit," said Upton, who is 3-for-11
since his return. "I put a good swing on it. It feels good."
McClung (3-10), recalled from Durham before the game, threw 1
1/3 scoreless innings. He had been sent to the minors on June 20 to
be converted from a starter to a reliever.
"Got the wraps off Seth and that was really interesting,"
Maddon said. "He came out and had a great look. He did a great
Brian Meadows pitched the ninth for his seventh save as the
Devil Rays split a four-game series with the AL Central-leading
Tigers and improved to 6-14 since the All-Star break.
Monroe hit his 17th homer for the Tigers, who went 6-4 on their
Jonny Gomes was hitless in 26 at-bats against Detroit this
season before starting the seventh with a double off Nate Robertson
(10-7). Josh Paul, who had seven hits in his last 46 at-bats, then
walked for the second time in the game.
Pinch-hitter Tomas Perez moved the runners up with a sacrifice
bunt. Zumaya replaced Robertson and gave up Upton's single that
scored Gomes. When Upton got caught in the rundown between first
and second, Paul broke for home and easily beat the throw to the
"I had to take a chance," Paul said. "They've got a great
pitching staff. It was a gamble I took and it worked out."
The Devil Rays loaded the bases on a single and two walks with
two outs in the fourth, but failed to score when Robertson struck
out Russell Branyan swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
Three pitches into fifth, Monroe extended his hitting streak to
10 games with an opposite-field leadoff homer to right that gave
the Tigers a 1-0 lead. He had three homers and six RBI in the
four-game series with Tampa Bay.
Devil Rays starter Jae Seo gave up one run and seven hits in 6
2/3 innings. He left because of tightness in his left groin.
Seo said the groin felt "just a little bit sore," but he hopes
to make his next scheduled start.
Robertson allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He
was asked about his reaction to fans who will question the Tigers
for not winning the series at Tampa Bay.
"I'll ask them if they want to come and try to play ... be my
guest," Robertson said. "That's all. That's all you say. They
can't do this. They can't, so they don't really have the right to
say that. It's a tough game."
Tampa Bay center fielder Rocco Baldelli was a late scratch
because of right hamstring soreness. He has made 44 starts since
being activated from the DL on June 7 after missing 221 consecutive
games with left knee, right elbow and hamstring injuries.
"It doesn't feel good," Baldelli said. "We'll play it day by
day. When I woke up this morning it was pretty sore. I went out for
batting practice and figured it was better to take a day and see
how it is tomorrow."
Baldelli was hurt running out a grounder on Wednesday.
Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez (sore right thumb) was in the
lineup after missing Wednesday's game. He went 1-for-4 and has
three hits over his last 15 at-bats. ... Tampa Bay 2B Jorge Cantu
was hitless in four at-bats and is in a 2-for-26 slide.