|Tampa Bay «||3||0||2||7||0||0||0||0||x||12||14||1|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Instead of ranting about Tampa Bay's lack of offensive production in crucial situations, Lou Piniella used a calm approach to coax the Devil Rays out of their hitting woes.
Crawford hit a three-run homer and Travis Lee and Josh Phelps also drove in three runs apiece, leading a season-high 14-hit attack in support of Rob Bell (1-0), who allowed nine hits and four earned runs in six innings.
The Devil Rays snapped a three-game losing streak that featured poor hitting with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-11 in those situations and stranded 14 men in a 5-1 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday night.
"We got them on tonight, and we got them in, too," Piniella said. "I told them to relax. I told them to swing the bat -- if you get it done this time, you'll get it done next time."
Crawford's second homer of the season was the big blow in a seven-run fourth inning against Sidney Ponson (1-1). The rally opened a 12-3 lead that Baltimore cut into with two runs in the fifth and Miguel Tejada's two-run homer off Seth McClung in the seventh.
Melvin Mora hit a two-run homer off Bell and went 3-for-5 with three RBI for the Orioles, falling a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Sammy Sosa drove in a run for the third consecutive game, contributing a RBI double in the fifth.
Alex Sanchez, the first player disciplined for violating baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs, returned from a 10-day suspension and had two hits and scored a run for Tampa Bay.
Catcher Charles Johnson, who missed three games last weekend after requesting a leave to handle a personal matter, also made his first start for the Devil Rays. He began the seven-run fourth with a double and finished it with a RBI single.
"We are the last team that needs suspensions or players taking a leave of absence," Piniella said, though he added that he couldn't blame the team's hitting woes on Sanchez and Johnson being away.
"All in all," the manager said, "if we hit a little better and pitched a little better we could have won a few more games."
Even before Crawford's homer made it 8-3, the Devil Rays were threatening to chase Ponson.
Aubrey Huff set the tone for the big night with a RBI single in the first. Two batters later, Lee drove in two with another single off Ponson, who surrendered nine runs and seven hits in three-plus innings.
"I'm not going to make any excuses," Ponson said. "I couldn't throw strikes. ... That's a formula for disaster."
Lee's third RBI came on a force play in the third. Phelps had a run-scoring single in the third and two-run single off reliever Rick Bauer in the fourth.
Tampa Bay reliever Jesus Colome left the game because of tendinitis in his pitching shoulder after throwing just six pitches in the seventh. McClung replaced him and gave up the two-run homer to Tejada on his second pitch.
|Carl Crawford hits a three-run homer as the Devil Rays put up a seven spot in the fourth inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||2||2||0||1||2||1||.405|
|David Newhan, CF||4||2||1||1||0||0||3||.125|
|a- Luis Matos, PH-CF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.333|
|Melvin Mora, 3B||5||2||3||3||0||1||1||.231|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||5||1||2||2||0||0||1||.333|
|Sammy Sosa, RF||5||0||1||1||0||0||0||.263|
|Rafael Palmeiro, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.241|
|Javy Lopez, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Jay Gibbons, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.208|
|Larry Bigbie, LF||4||0||2||0||0||2||1||.261|
|a-struck out for Newhan in the 8th|
|2B - Melvin Mora (2, Colome), Sammy Sosa (2, R. Bell), Larry Bigbie (2, R. Bell)|
|3B - Brian Roberts (2, R. Bell)|
|HR - Melvin Mora (1, R. Bell), Miguel Tejada (1, McClung)|
|RBI - David Newhan (1), Melvin Mora 3 (4), Miguel Tejada 2 (10), Sammy Sosa (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Sammy Sosa (2)|
|SB - Brian Roberts 2 (4, 2nd base off R. Bell/Johnson, 2nd base off R. Bell/Johnson)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Larry Bigbie 1|
|DP - Tejada-Gibbons|
|Sidney Ponson (L,1-1)||3||7||9||9||4||1||1||13.50|
|IBB - Phelps by John Parrish|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sidney Ponson 79-44, Rick Bauer 61-39, John Parrish 20-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sidney Ponson 4-4, Rick Bauer 4-2, John Parrish 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Sidney Ponson 20, Rick Bauer 16, John Parrish 6|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Carl Crawford, LF||3||2||1||3||2||1||0||.265|
|Julio Lugo, SS||3||1||1||0||2||1||0||.281|
|Alex Sanchez, CF||5||3||2||0||0||1||2||.400|
|Aubrey Huff, RF||4||2||1||1||1||1||3||.324|
|Josh Phelps, DH||4||1||2||3||1||1||0||.344|
|Travis Lee, 1B||5||1||3||3||0||0||2||.296|
|Jorge Cantu, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||0||3||.324|
|Charles Johnson, C||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.500|
|Nick Green, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.154|
|2B - Julio Lugo (1, Parrish), Alex Sanchez (1, Bauer), Travis Lee (2, Bauer), Jorge Cantu (1, Bauer), Charles Johnson (1, Ponson)|
|HR - Carl Crawford (2, Ponson)|
|RBI - Carl Crawford 3 (9), Aubrey Huff (6), Josh Phelps 3 (9), Travis Lee 3 (4), Jorge Cantu (8), Charles Johnson (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - Travis Lee 2 (2)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|PB - Charles Johnson (1)|
|E - Julio Lugo (4, Misplayed grounder)|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Rob Bell (W,1-0)||6||9||5||4||1||3||1||4.50|
|WP - Rob Bell (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rob Bell 94-62, Jesus Colome 2-1, Seth McClung 13-7, Trever Miller 17-13, Danys Baez 8-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rob Bell 9-7, Danys Baez 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Rob Bell 29, Jesus Colome 1, Seth McClung 4, Trever Miller 4, Danys Baez 3|
|Attendance - 9797|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Ed Montague, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Paul Emmel|