ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Kevin Witt led minor leaguers with
36 homers at Triple-A Durham this season. The 30-year old
journeyman proved he can go deep in the big leagues, too.
Witt hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday,
leading the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 7-6 victory over the Seattle
"Maybe it's a sign of good things to come," said Witt, who has
two homers in 24 at-bats with the Devil Rays.
Witt signed as a minor league free agent during the offseason
after playing in Japan last year. He last played in the majors with
Detroit in 2003 before being called up from Durham on Aug, 24.
"He's a pro," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He's
wonderful to have in this clubhouse. I felt good about him in that
situation. That was a very big moment for us."
Ty Wigginton and Greg Norton each hit two-run homers for the
Devil Rays, who are 16-32 since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay has
163 homers this season, one more than the old team record of 162
set in 2000.
Brian Meadows (3-5) threw two scoreless innings, and Seth
McClung pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Willie Bloomquist
walked with one out and stole second, but McClung got Ichiro Suzuki
to fly out and struck out Chris Snelling to end it.
With the Devil Rays trailing 6-4, Delmon Young singled, moved to
second on Carl Crawford's groundout and took third one out later on
a wild pitch by Felix Hernandez. After Wigginton walked on a full
count, Witt hit the first pitch from Hernandez (11-13) for an
"I just tried to make a pitch down and away, and he put a good
swing on it," Hernandez said through a translator. "I think it
was up. As soon as he hit it, I didn't feel like it was a home run.
The ball kept carrying and carrying and carrying and went out of
Broussard hit a two-run homer and Betancourt had a solo shot in
a span of three pitches off reliever Chad Orvella, helping Seattle
take a 6-2 lead. Orvella allowed four runs and three hits without
recording an out.
Norton cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 6-4 in the sixth.
Hernandez gave up seven runs, 10 hits, one walk and had seven
strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.
"Felix made three bad pitches, and all three of them ended up
in the seats," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
The Devil Rays tied it at 2 on Wigginton's 19th homer in the
Seattle loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but failed
to score when Adrian Beltre flied out to center. Beltre is 0-for-9
with the bases loaded and two outs this season.
Beltre saved a run with a solid defensive play at third base in
the second with a runner on third and one out. He moved to his
right to field Jorge Cantu's grounder near the foul line and made a
twisting throw from foul territory to record the out at first.
Devil Rays starter Brian Stokes gave up two runs and seven hits
over four innings in his major league debut. He was called up from
Triple-A Durham on Friday to replace Casey Fossum, who'll miss the
rest of the season because of a left shoulder injury.
Suzuki went 0-for-6, dropping his average from .320 to
.317, and went 3-for-15 in the series. It was the fifth time --
including July 15 this season at Toronto -- that he has gone hitless
in a game with six or more at-bats. ... Suzuki tied a team record --
held by Julio Cruz -- with his 32nd consecutive successful
stolen-base attempt when he stole second in the seventh after
reaching on a fielder's choice. ... Tampa Bay LHP Scott Kazmir
(sore left shoulder) could resume playing catch soon. "He's
getting close," Maddon said. It hasn't been determined if Kazmir
will pitch again this season.