ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Aubrey Huff raised his arms in celebration as soon as the ball left his bat.
The struggling slugger's 10th-inning home run gave the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 5-4 victory Friday night over the Florida Marlins and also gave him the added satisfaction of helping his former minor-league manager get his first big-league win.Bill Evers, in his first season as a major-league coach, is filling in during the first two games of the interleague series while manager Joe Maddon is attending his girlfriend's graduation from law school in California."I haven't hit that many balls hard. It's good to get something going and contribute," said Huff, who also had an RBI double and went 2-for-4 after beginning the night batting .123 with no homers."When we were out there on defense, I was thinking it would be fitting to hit a walk-off homer for Bill. ... I told him after the game, 'This is for you,'" he said.Toby Hall, another of Evers' former players in the minors, homered in the ninth to get the Devil Rays to extra innings.Evers, who managed 19 years in the minors, was doused with cold beer when he entered the clubhouse after the game."It couldn't have worked out any better," he said.The Devil Rays ended a seven-game losing streak in an intrastate rivalry that's never really taken off with fans in the Sunshine State. Attendance at Tropicana Field was announced as 10,017 -- lowest ever for a home game against the Marlins.Hall led off the ninth with a first-pitch homer off Joe Borowski, while Huff -- out most of April with a sprained knee -- connected off Yusmeiro Petit (0-1)."It's almost like we're finding new ways to lose, and you thought you saw every way there could be. It's frustrating," Borowski said. "For the most part, we're in a lot of games and we need to figure out how to put these games away."Tyler Walker (1-2) pitched one inning to get the win, Tampa Bay's first in 21 tries when trailing after eight innings.Florida's Dan Uggla hit a solo homer off Devil Rays starter Casey Fossum, who left after four innings because of a mild left groin strain.The Devil Rays scored on Huff's run-scoring double in the first and Joey Gathright's RBI grounder in the fifth before Travis Lee lined a run-scoring single to right-center to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2 in the sixth.Lee, who grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners in scoring position in the fourth, had been 0-for-28 in those situations this season and 0-for-33 dating to 2005. He also came to the plate with runners at first and second and the Devil Rays trailing 4-3 and struck out to end the eighth.The Marlins took the 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth after loading the bases on Miguel Cabrera's single off Travis Harper and two walks. Joe Borchard singled to center off Shawn Camp, driving in two to put Florida in position to win for the first time when trailing after seven innings.Fossum allowed two runs and four hits in four innings. Besides Uggla's sixth homer, the left-hander gave up an RBI single in the second to Reggie Abercrombie, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.Marlins starter Brian Moehler pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out four before departing with the 4-3 lead.
Marlins manager Joe Girardi was ejected after arguing a close play at first base in the sixth inning. ... Uggla tied the Marlins record for home runs by a second baseman. Luis Castillo had six in 2003 and Damion Easley hit six each of the past two seasons. ... Abercrombie's hitting streak matches the longest of the year by a Marlins player. Hanley Ramirez had an 11-game streak from May 3-14. ... Fossum's early exit stopped a stretch of four consecutive starts in which the left-hander worked at least six innings.