|Tampa Bay «||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||7||15||0|
Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run home run in the 13th inning after Tampa Bay blew a three-run lead for the fifth time in eight games, and the Devil Rays ended a seven-game losing streak by beating the Pirates 7-5 Sunday.
The Pirates were denied a fifth consecutive victory and missed a chance to move over .500 for the first time so late in a season since they were 67-66 on Aug. 26, 1997. They also couldn't sweep a skidding team they beat 7-2 and 18-2 the previous two nights.
"Absolutely," McClendon said when asked if it was the Pirates' worst loss all season. "I'm not happy. ... It was a very frustrating loss in a lot of different ways. And as far as we've come, these games show how far we've got to go."
Just don't ask Piniella about how far away the Devil Rays are from contending. Before the game, he sharply criticized ownership for not working to put a quality team on the field now and for focusing too far into the future.
Of course, there's not been much to see this season, with the Devil Rays going 21-42 overall and 5-28 on the road. They won for only the second time in 14 games and went 2-10 on a road trip that saw them lose four consecutive games from June 4-8 when they led by three runs or more.
This game had a similar look as the Pirates, down to their last out in the ninth, tied it on Humberto Cota's pinch-hit homer off Lance Carter. Pittsburgh then loaded the bases with one out in the 10th but reliever Franklin Nunez -- facing his first batter this season -- got Jose Castillo to hit into a double play.
"It would have been easy, once they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and nobody on, to chuck it and get on a plane," Piniella said. "They hung in there and won a ballgame. It was a tough trip, but it ended up with a win."
The Pirates were disappointed a mostly good homestand -- they went 9-4 against the Marlins, Braves, Orioles and Devil Rays -- ended with so exasperating a loss.
"We were one hit away, one play away from winning the game," Daryle Ward said. "He (McClendon) wanted to sweep and we all wanted to sweep."
Pinch-hitter Nick Green walked to start the 13th against Brian Meadows (2-1), Pittsburgh's seventh pitcher, and Gonzalez followed a batter later with his fourth homer, a drive into the left-field seats.
"It was a fastball up, but I don't know how far up," a tired Gonzalez said. "I was almost delirious by then."
Nunez (1-0), called up from Triple-A Durham hours before, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for his first career victory. Chad Orvella pitched a scoreless 13th for his first career save, despite allowing Castillo's two-out double and walking Ward.
The Devil Rays led 3-0 in the first and 5-2 in the seventh, but considering their recent inability to close out games, the leads probably didn't feel very safe.
"It was a tough trip. We lost some games we shouldn't have lost and any time that happens to a team, it's that much harder to bounce back," Gonzalez said. "Usually, it takes a game like this to turn things around."
Travis Lee's two-run double got the Devil Rays off to a quick three-run start in the first as Pirates starter Josh Fogg allowed the first five batters to reach base. Carl Crawford walked and Julio Lugo and Alex Sanchez singled ahead of Jorge Cantu's RBI single and Lee's double.
Tampa Bay, 0-8 previously in interleague play, made it 5-2 in the seventh on Toby Hall's two-run single against reliever Salomon Torres. The Pirates, winners of 11 of their previous 16, tried to rally by scoring twice in the seventh on a double-play grounder and Matt Lawton's RBI single.
|Alex Gonzalez is the Devil Rays' man of the moment after his 13th-inning homer. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Carl Crawford, LF||6||1||0||0||1||1||2||.278|
|Julio Lugo, SS||7||1||2||0||0||0||2||.283|
|Alex Sanchez, RF||6||2||2||0||0||1||2||.346|
|Jorge Cantu, 2B||6||0||2||1||0||1||0||.293|
|Travis Lee, 1B||6||0||1||2||0||2||2||.246|
|Reggie Taylor, CF||3||1||2||0||1||0||1||.364|
|Lance Carter, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Aubrey Huff, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Trever Miller, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Franklin Nunez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Nick Green, PH||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||.284|
|Chad Orvella, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Toby Hall, C||5||0||2||2||0||0||3||.304|
|Alex Gonzalez, 3B||5||1||1||2||1||1||3||.242|
|Mark Hendrickson, P||3||0||1||0||0||2||3||.143|
|Travis Harper, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Damon Hollins, CF||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.324|
|a-struck out for Carter in the 10th|
|b-walked for Nunez in the 13th|
|2B - Travis Lee (10, Fogg), Reggie Taylor (2, Fogg), Damon Hollins 2 (6, White, Meadows)|
|HR - Alex Gonzalez (4, Meadows)|
|SH - Toby Hall (2)|
|RBI - Jorge Cantu (30), Travis Lee 2 (16), Toby Hall 2 (18), Alex Gonzalez 2 (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - Toby Hall 2 (9)|
|SB - Carl Crawford 2 (18, 2nd base off Fogg/Doumit, 2nd base off White/Doumit), Alex Sanchez (6, 2nd base off Fogg/Doumit), Reggie Taylor (2, 2nd base off Torres/Doumit)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Cantu-Lugo-Lee, Lugo-Lee|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Travis Harper (H,6)||1.2||1||2||2||1||1||0||7.64|
|Lance Carter (BS,1)||2.1||3||1||1||0||1||1||3.73|
|Franklin Nunez (W,1-0)||2.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Chad Orvella (S,1)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||5.14|
|IBB - Mackowiak by Trever Miller|
|HBP - J. Wilson (by Travis Harper)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Hendrickson 78-48, Travis Harper 19-12, Lance Carter 20-14, Trever Miller 12-4, Franklin Nunez 23-17, Chad Orvella 19-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Hendrickson 9-4, Travis Harper 1-2, Lance Carter 1-4, Trever Miller 1-0, Franklin Nunez 2-4, Chad Orvella 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Mark Hendrickson 21, Travis Harper 7, Lance Carter 9, Trever Miller 4, Franklin Nunez 7, Chad Orvella 5|
|Freddy Sanchez, 3B-SS||6||0||1||0||0||0||0||.278|
|Matt Lawton, RF||6||1||4||1||0||0||1||.283|
|Jason Bay, LF||5||1||2||0||1||0||2||.297|
|Ryan Doumit, C||5||0||2||1||0||2||0||.375|
|Rob Mackowiak, CF||5||0||0||1||1||1||2||.347|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||6||0||1||0||0||0||2||.285|
|Daryle Ward, 1B||4||1||0||0||2||1||0||.281|
|Jack Wilson, SS||2||1||0||0||0||1||0||.234|
|Bobby Hill, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.235|
|Josh Fogg, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.095|
|John Grabow, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Salomon Torres, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Tike Redman, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.278|
|Rick White, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Gonzalez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Humberto Cota, PH||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.259|
|Jose Mesa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Michael Restovich, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Brian Meadows, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Torres in the 7th|
|b-homered for Gonzalez in the 9th|
|c-struck out for Mesa in the 11th|
|2B - Matt Lawton (18, Hendrickson), Ryan Doumit 2 (4, Hendrickson, Hendrickson), Jose Castillo (7, Orvella)|
|HR - Humberto Cota (4, Carter)|
|SH - Ryan Doumit (1)|
|RBI - Matt Lawton (27), Ryan Doumit (4), Rob Mackowiak (34), Humberto Cota (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Lawton (14), Humberto Cota (6)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Rob Mackowiak 1|
|DP - Castillo|
|E - Josh Fogg (2, Wild pickoff attempt)|
|Brian Meadows (L,2-1)||2||2||2||2||1||1||1||5.96|
|IBB - Gonzalez by Josh Fogg|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Fogg 102-71, John Grabow 10-5, Salomon Torres 8-4, Rick White 10-9, Mike Gonzalez 9-6, Jose Mesa 25-16, Brian Meadows 28-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Fogg 7-6, John Grabow 1-0, Rick White 1-1, Jose Mesa 1-3, Brian Meadows 3-2|
|Batters Faced - Josh Fogg 31, John Grabow 2, Salomon Torres 2, Rick White 3, Mike Gonzalez 3, Jose Mesa 6, Brian Meadows 9|
|Attendance - 23240|
|Game Time - 4:04|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman|