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Devil Rays top Mariners on Witt's late homer

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kevin Witt led minor leaguers with 36 homers at Triple-A Durham this season. The 30-year old journeyman proved Sunday he can go deep in the big leagues, too.

Witt hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning, leading the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

"Maybe it's a sign of good things to come," said Witt, who has two homers in 24 at-bats with the Devil Rays.

Witt signed as a minor league free agent during the offseason after playing in Japan last year. He last played in the majors with Detroit in 2003 before being called up from Durham on Aug, 24.

"He's a pro," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He's wonderful to have in this clubhouse. I felt good about him in that situation. That was a very big moment for us."

Ty Wigginton and Greg Norton each hit two-run homers for the Devil Rays, who are 16-32 since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay has 163 homers this season, one more than the old team record of 162 set in 2000.

Brian Meadows (3-5) threw two scoreless innings, and Seth McClung pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Willie Bloomquist walked with one out and stole second, but McClung got Ichiro Suzuki to fly out and struck out Chris Snelling to end it.

With the Devil Rays trailing 6-4, Delmon Young singled, moved to second on Carl Crawford's groundout and took third one out later on a wild pitch by Felix Hernandez. After Wigginton walked on a full count, Witt hit the first pitch from Hernandez (11-13) for an opposite-field homer.

"I just tried to make a pitch down and away, and he put a good swing on it," Hernandez said through a translator. "I think it was up. As soon as he hit it, I didn't feel like it was a home run. The ball kept carrying and carrying and carrying and went out of the ballpark."

Ben Broussard and Yuniesky Betancourt homered during a four-run fifth for Seattle, which had snapped a 12-game road losing streak Saturday.

Broussard hit a two-run homer and Betancourt had a solo shot in a span of three pitches off reliever Chad Orvella, helping Seattle take a 6-2 lead. Orvella allowed four runs and three hits without recording an out.

Norton cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 6-4 in the sixth.

Hernandez gave up seven runs, 10 hits, one walk and had seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

"Felix made three bad pitches, and all three of them ended up in the seats," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.

Raul Ibanez put the Mariners ahead 1-0 on an RBI single in the first, and Richie Sexson made it 2-0 in the third with a solo homer.

The Devil Rays tied it at 2 on Wigginton's 19th homer in the fourth.

Seattle loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but failed to score when Adrian Beltre flied out to center. Beltre is 0-for-9 with the bases loaded and two outs this season.

Beltre saved a run with a solid defensive play at third base in the second with a runner on third and one out. He moved to his right to field Jorge Cantu's grounder near the foul line and made a twisting throw from foul territory to record the out at first.

Devil Rays starter Brian Stokes gave up two runs and seven hits over four innings in his major league debut. He was called up from Triple-A Durham on Friday to replace Casey Fossum, who'll miss the rest of the season because of a left shoulder injury.

Notes

  • Suzuki went 0-for-6, dropping his average from .320 to .317, and went 3-for-15 in the series. It was the fifth time -- including July 15 this season at Toronto -- that he has gone hitless in a game with six or more at-bats.
  • Suzuki tied a team record -- held by Julio Cruz -- with his 32nd consecutive successful stolen-base attempt when he stole second in the seventh after reaching on a fielder's choice.
  • Tampa Bay LHP Scott Kazmir (sore left shoulder) could resume playing catch soon. "He's getting close," Maddon said. It hasn't been determined if Kazmir will pitch again this season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Devil Rays hit three homers against the Mariners, including a three-run shot by Kevin Witt.  (AP)
The Devil Rays hit three homers against the Mariners, including a three-run shot by Kevin Witt. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

T. Wigginton
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Seattle

B. Broussard
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, CF6000007
Chris Snelling, RF4121212
Adrian Beltre, 3B5000018
Raul Ibanez, LF5011014
Richie Sexson, DH3221200
Ben Broussard, 1B4122102
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS5121003
Rene Rivera, C4100002
   a- Jose Lopez, PH1000010
Willie Bloomquist, 2B4040100
Totals4161366428 
a-struck out for Rivera in the 9th
Batting
2B - Chris Snelling (, Stokes), Richie Sexson (, Meadows)
HR - Richie Sexson (, Stokes), Ben Broussard (, Orvella), Yuniesky Betancourt (, Orvella)
RBI - Chris Snelling (), Raul Ibanez (), Richie Sexson (), Ben Broussard 2 (), Yuniesky Betancourt ()
2-OUT RBI - Raul Ibanez ()
SB - Ichiro Suzuki (, 2nd base off Meadows/Paul), Chris Snelling (, 2nd base off Stokes/Paul), Rene Rivera (, 2nd base off Orvella/Paul), Willie Bloomquist 2 (, 3rd base off R. Lugo/Paul, 2nd base off McClung/Paul)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
E - Rene Rivera (, )
Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez (L,-) 7.21077173
Sean Green 0.1000000
WP - Felix Hernandez ()
Pitches-Strikes - Felix Hernandez 103-74, Sean Green 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felix Hernandez 14-2, Sean Green 1-0
Batters Faced - Felix Hernandez 34, Sean Green 1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Ben Zobrist, SS4010011
Delmon Young, CF-RF4110011
Carl Crawford, DH4110001
Greg Norton, RF4222012
    Rocco Baldelli, CF0000000
Ty Wigginton, LF-1B3222110
Kevin Witt, 1B4113001
    Damon Hollins, LF0000000
Jorge Cantu, 2B4010011
B.J. Upton, 3B4010012
Josh Paul, C3000011
Totals3471071710 
Batting
2B - Carl Crawford (, Hernandez), Ty Wigginton (, Hernandez)
HR - Greg Norton (, Hernandez), Ty Wigginton (, Hernandez), Kevin Witt (, Hernandez)
RBI - Greg Norton 2 (), Ty Wigginton 2 (), Kevin Witt 3 ()
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Witt 3 ()
SB - Carl Crawford (, 3rd base off Hernandez/Rivera)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - B.J. Upton (, ), Kevin Witt (, )
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Brian Stokes 4722311
Chad Orvella0343102
Ruddy Lugo 2100000
Brian Meadows (W,-) 2200110
Seth McClung (S,) 1000120
IBB - Broussard by Brian Meadows
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Stokes 72-45, Chad Orvella 22-14, Ruddy Lugo 32-17, Brian Meadows 33-22, Seth McClung 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Stokes 4-7, Chad Orvella 1-0, Ruddy Lugo 2-4, Brian Meadows 1-4
Batters Faced - Brian Stokes 22, Chad Orvella 5, Ruddy Lugo 7, Brian Meadows 9, Seth McClung 4
Game Information
Attendance - 14501
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Dusty Dellinger, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Chad Fairchild