Alvarez goes seven strong innings vs. Marlins


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Wilson Alvarez didn't say much about
winning at Tropicana Field for the first time in nearly three

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays left-hander also was at a loss for
words to explain his recent success against Florida after pitching
four-hit ball for seven innings in Friday night's 4-0 victory over
the Marlins.

"I'm not really thinking about that stuff,'' Alvarez said.
"When I go out there, I try to do the best I can, do my job, give
the team a chance to win. That's all that's on my mind right now.''

Alvarez, who missed the last two seasons recovering from rotator
cuff surgery, struck out five and walked three to extend his streak
of scoreless innings against the Marlins this season to 13.

He gave up four hits in six innings before leaving a scoreless
game at Florida on June 16. Tampa Bay won that game 4-1 and has
taken three of four from its intrastate rivals this year.

"I have no idea what it is. I'm not even thinking,'' Alvarez
said of his domination of the Marlins. "I just go, here it is.
Hopefully, it's hit to somebody. So far, it's working.''

The Devil Rays, who have won three straight overall, scored
three times in the second and added Jared Sandberg's solo homer off
Ryan Dempster (5-7) in the seventh.

Dempster went eight innings for his third complete game of the

"Some nights you're dealt a bunch of runs. Some nights you've
got to be good,'' Dempster said. "Tonight I made some mistakes,
cost us some runs. It comes down to not making the big pitch when I
needed to. There's really nothing more to it.''

Alvarez (2-2) hadn't won at home since Aug. 24, 1999, when he
beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5. He limited the Marlins to an
infield single and three walks through five innings, picking up
where he left off in his other start against Florida.

Travis Phelps pitched a scoreless eighth, and Esteban Yan
finished the five-hitter.

Luis Castillo led off the Marlins' sixth with a single -- his
100th hit of the season. Cliff Floyd singled two outs later, but
Alvarez escaped the jam when Derek Lee flied out to the warning
track in left field.

The Marlins also threatened in the second when Alvarez walked
Floyd and Lee before striking out the next two batters. First
baseman Steve Cox saved at least one run when he dived to knock
down Mike Redmond's infield hit and scrambled to his feet to throw
to out Floyd, who was trying to score from second.

Florida stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh,
eighth and ninth innings, too.

The closest the Marlins came to scoring was the seventh, when
Kevin Millar hit a ground-rule double that landed on one of the
catwalks above the outfield of Tampa Bay's domed stadium. The
umpires initially signaled a home run.

"We were right there the whole game. We couldn't get that
two-out rally,'' Millar said. "They scored three with two outs.
That's what you need.''

Dempster settled down after giving up an RBI triple to Chris
Gomez and run-scoring singles to Sandberg and Brent Abernathy in
the second. The right-hander held the Devil Rays to Gomez's double
and Aubrey Huff's single over the next four innings to keep Tampa
Bay from increasing its lead.

Dempster allowed nine hits, struck out six and walked one.

Game notes
Tampa Bay has won five of the last seven games in the
intrastate rivalry, but trail the series 16-10. ... Castillo
reached 100 hits faster than any other player in Marlins history,
getting No. 100 in the team's 79th game -- four games quicker than
Jeff Conine in 1994. ... Florida manager Jeff Torborg said RHP Brad
Penny will start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. He's been on the
15-day disabled list since May 19 with right biceps inflammation.
... Marlins RHP Josh Beckett, who has a blister on his right middle
finger, is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Monday before
beginning a two-game rehabilitation assignment. Barring a setback,
he's expected to rejoin the rotation July 16.