Series: Game 3 of 4

Tampa Bay leads 3-0 (as of 8/23)

Game 1: Monday, August 21
Tampa Bay4
Game 2: Tuesday, August 22
Tampa Bay5
Game 3: Wednesday, August 23
Tampa Bay7
Game 4: Thursday, August 24
Tampa Bay3

Rangers 3

(65-63, 34-32 away)

Devil Rays 7

(52-75, 34-30 home)

    7:15 PM ET, August 23, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 000003000 3 6 0
    TB 00102130 - 7 10 3

    W: S. Camp (6-1)

    L: K. Millwood (12-9)

    Cantu drives in 3; Rays win third straight over Rangers

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Struggling Jorge Cantu put the Texas Rangers into a deeper hole.

    Cantu hit his first homer since July 29 and drove in three runs to help the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Rangers 7-3 Wednesday night.

    Cantu had sat out the previous two days and was hitting just .146 since July 24 before going 3-for-4 against Texas.

    "He gets the next two days off," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon joked. "He responded really well. I think he feels pretty good about himself right now."

    Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, who have lost the first three games of a four-game series with the Devil Rays. Texas is 7½ games behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics, who beat Toronto 6-0.

    "It's not unfathomable," Teixeira said. "It's a big league team. They want to win just as much as we do, and they've played better than us the last three days. They can go out and beat anybody, so we just have to play better."

    Cantu hit a two-run drive in fifth and a run-scoring double one inning later that gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead.

    "I needed to clear my head," Cantu said. "I feel really relaxed. Very, very relaxed for the first time in a long time."

    Cantu's double went over center fielder Jerry Hairston, who got turned around on the play. Hairston made the start to give Gary Matthews Jr. some rest.

    "I let the team down," Hairston said. "My job is to keep the train rolling. Tonight, I'm embarrassed. It's unacceptable."

    Carl Crawford added a two-run shot in Tampa Bay's three-run seventh. It was his career-high 16th homer of the season.

    Shawn Camp (6-1) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win. The Devil Rays are 13-25 since the All-Star break.

    Rocco Baldelli doubled in a run in the first and Cantu snapped an 0-for-19 skid with his 10th homer of the season against Kevin Millwood (12-9) in the fifth, putting the Devil Rays ahead 3-0.

    Millwood gave up six runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.

    "It's been real frustrating seeing as how we haven't done anything well," Millwood said. "You can't pick out one facet of the game that we've done well."

    The Rangers tied it at 3 in the top of the sixth when Teixeira hit his 21st homer and Rod Barajas doubled in a run against Casey Fossum.

    "We came back, tied it up," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "It didn't look good at 3-0. We battled our way back. We just couldn't get a shutdown inning after that."

    Fossum didn't allow a hit in the first three innings but the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on two singles and a walk. Fossum worked out of the jam by striking out Barajas.

    Fossum allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

    Game notes

    Barajas is 1-for-9, including four strikeouts, with the bases loaded this season. His lone hit was a grand slam. ... Tampa Bay placed RHP Jae Seo on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. The Devil Rays recalled RHP Jason Hammel from Triple-A Durham to start Friday's game at Baltimore. ... Rangers minor league RHP Eric Hurley, taken 30th overall in the 2004 draft, was placed on the DL at Double-A Frisco with an oblique injury. ... Tampa Bay INF Ty Wigginton (broken left hand) is expected to start taking batting practice Saturday. ... Cantu's homer gave the Devil Rays nine players with 10 or more homers this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press