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Lugo's two-run homer ties it in ninth

5/14/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Casey Blake got comfortable at just the right
time.

After Julio Lugo hit a tying, two-run homer for Tampa Bay in the
ninth inning, Blake homered in the 10th Friday night to give the
Cleveland Indians an 8-7 win over the Devil Rays.

"I felt like a fish out of water," said Blake, who went
1-for-4 in his first game since missing three because of a strained
right hamstring. "A homer never crossed my mind, which is a good
thing. I was up there hacking early on and was pretty lucky in the
10th."

Blake's third homer, his first since April 19, came off Lance
Carter (1-2) leading off the inning and sent the Devil Rays to
their 15th loss in 18 games.

Tampa Bay (10-24) has not won consecutive games all year, tying
the 1945 Philadelphia Phillies for the ninth-longest streak without
back-to-back wins at the start of a season -- 10 behind the record
set by the 1932 Boston Red Sox.

"There's no way to describe it," Carter said. "Everyone is
frustrated, from the hitters to the pitchers to the coaches."

Rick White (1-0) pitched one inning for his first win since July
23, when he was with the Chicago White Sox.

He was helped by poor baserunning by the Devil Rays in the top
of the 10th. Jose Cruz Jr. doubled, but was out trying to advance
to third on a comebacker by Robert Fick. Fick then was doubled off
first on a line drive hit by Toby Hall to second baseman Ronnie
Belliard.

"How about that baserunning?" Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella
said. "That's the difference between winning and losing. (Cruz) is
in scoring position. The ball had got to get past the pitcher -- or
get caught in a rundown at least."

Lugo tied a career high with five RBI. Before the tying homer,
he fouled off seven pitches, including six with two strikes. He
then connected against Rafael Betancourt, who has blown three of
five save chances.

"They were all fastballs and I made a mistake on the last
one," Betancourt said.

It was the 10th blown save in 14 tries for the Cleveland
bullpen, which has allowed runs in 32 of 33 games it has worked.
The only time it emerged unscathed was a two-inning stint April 8
in Kansas City.

"It is not good enough for one guy to do it one night and
another to do it the next night," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
"It has to be collective, and it has to be consistent."

Jody Gerut extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a
three-run homer that helped build a 6-1 lead.

Tino Martinez's RBI single put Tampa Bay ahead in the first, but
Gerut homered in the bottom half after Matt Lawton walked and Omar
Vizquel singled.

Vizquel had an RBI single in the second, and Alex Escobar hit a
two-out, two-run single off Chad Gaudin to make it 6-1 in the
third.

Tampa Bay closed in the fourth on Hall's RBI single and Lugo's
three-run triple -- Tampa Bay's first extra-base hit in 16 at-bats
with the bases loaded this season.

Vizquel hit a sacrifice fly off Travis Harper in the eighth for
a 7-5 lead.

Indians starter Jason Davis allowed five runs and eight hits
over six innings in his first career appearance against Tampa Bay.

Devil Rays starter Paul Abbott gave up six runs and five hits in
2 2-3 innings. Over his last four starts, all on the road, he has
given up 24 runs over 18 2-3 innings.

Game notes
Cleveland has scored in the first inning in four straight
games and nine of its last 11. ... Tampa Bay has lost 14 of its
last 16 at Jacobs Field. ... Devil Rays OF Rocco Baldelli was hit
in the left wrist by a pitch from Davis in the first inning, but
stayed in the game. ... The Indians have scored 73 of their 187
runs with two outs this season. ... Tampa Bay made two errors after
committing only six in its previous 18 games. ... Gerut is batting
.324 (22-for-68) during his hitting streak. ...