Wigginton helped Tampa Bay snap a season-high, nine-game losing
streak, hitting a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth inning
of a 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
"I just appreciate the way he is ... he comes to play every
day," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He loves to play
baseball. He's the kind of a guy you need on a team to win. He's a
winner. He's truly the kind of guy any manager in baseball would
like to have as part of their group."
The Devil Rays (58-94) need win six of their final 10 games to
avoid their fifth 99-loss season in the team's nine-year history.
They lost 100 or more twice.
"It feels good," Wigginton said. "I want to come up in those
situations. I don't mind being the goat if I don't come through.
It's all part of it."
Seth McClung (6-12) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win.
Chris Gomez pulled the Orioles even at 2 in the top of the
eighth with an RBI-single off Jae Seo. The Tampa Bay starter, who
allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, is 0-1 with seven
no-decisions in eight starts since July 29.
Wigginton and Jorge Cantu opened the seventh with singles off
Hayden Penn, who had given up one run and one hit through six
innings. After Kevin Witt struck out, Dioner Navarro singled to
load the bases.
Tomas Perez, mired in a 9-for-62 slide, popped out. Rocco
Baldelli then gave the Devil Rays a 2-1 lead with an infield single
that went off the glove of a diving Gomez at third. Lopez, who
leads the majors in losses, replaced Penn and got an inning-ending
grounder from Delmon Young to keep Baltimore within one run.
"Sometimes I can't believe what's going on right now," Lopez
said. "I guess it's just part of the game. It's still frustrating,
but I'm going to keep trying and trying. I know I'm better than
Penn gave up two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He had
allowed 22 runs and 24 hits over 7 1/3 innings in his previous
three starts this season. The right-hander's longest outing during
that stretch was 3 2/3 innings.
"As rough a time as he had the first three times out, it was
just a matter of him relaxing a little bit," Baltimore manager Sam
Perlozzo said. "Somehow you've got to get through a couple innings
and you get your confidence up and feel good about yourself and I
thought he did that."
Penn said the outing was something he can build off.
"We didn't get the win, but it's an improvement," he said.
Carl Crawford got the Devil Rays' first hit, a homer with one
out in the fourth that tied it at 1. Corey Patterson tripled and
scored on David Newhan's sacrifice fly to put the Orioles up 1-0 in
Tampa Bay third baseman B.J. Upton and shortstop Perez teamed up
for an outstanding defensive play with one out in the ninth. With
Miguel Tejada on first, Upton dived to his left to field Kevin
Millar's grounder. While on his stomach, Upton flipped the ball to
Perez, who threw out Millar at first.
McClung then got a game-ending grounder from Patterson.
"That play by B.J. and Tomas was outstanding," Maddon said.
"We did some really good things today."
A year ago Wednesday, Orioles 2B Brian Roberts dislocated
his left elbow and tore a tendon and ligament in a collision with
Bubba Crosby of the New York Yankees while covering first base.
Roberts is hitting .290 in 129 games this season. "I give all the
credit in the world to him," Perlozzo said. "To me, that's been a
pretty amazing feat for him, to still play up to the level that
he's played." ... Gomez has a 13-game hitting streak.