ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella
talked about his fondness for three-run homers on his pregame radio
show. His players must have been listening.
Aubrey Huff, Al Martin and Travis Lee each hit a three-run shot,
leading the Devil Rays to a 15-4 rout of the Texas Rangers on
Sunday."It's really a pleasant thing to watch," Piniella said.The 15 runs equaled a team record and was the most ever at home
for Tampa Bay, which is 8-8 in July. The Devil Rays were a
franchise-worst 5-21 in June."We're playing better," Piniella said. "We've got some work
still to do."Julio Lugo had four hits, and Jorge Sosa (3-7) allowed two runs
and four hits over seven innings.The victory moved Piniella past Chuck Tanner into 24th place on
the career list with 1,353 wins.Huff, Rocco Baldelli and Martin homered during the Devil Rays'
seven-run fourth that made it 10-1."Lots of built up frustration," Huff said. "Once you get a
nice lead, you're able to play a little more relaxed. I think it
makes hitting easier when you relax."Huff hit a three-run shot off starter Tony Mounce (1-4). Ryan
Drese replaced Mounce and allowed a solo homer to Baldelli. Martin
ended Tampa Bay's highest-scoring inning of the season with his
three-run, pinch-hit homer against Drese."I hadn't seen seven runs up on the board," Piniella said. "I
asked a couple of our players, is that a seven? It's good to see
it, it really is."Mounce allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. He has
given up 20 runs in 15 2-3 innings over his past four starts.Rangers manager Buck Showalter was asked if Mounce would keep
his spot in the rotation."We'll talk about it," Showalter said. "Certainly the last
three or four outings have been a struggle for him. With a lot of
young pitchers, or inexperienced pitchers, things snowball good and
bad."Lee made it 13-1 in the fifth with his three-run drive off
Drese. It was just Lee's second homer in his past 27 games.Drese gave up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings.Todd Greene hit a solo homer for the Rangers.Toby Hall put the Devil Rays ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the
second.Greene tied it on a third-inning homer. The shot snapped a
stretch in which the Rangers went 21 innings without a home run.Baldelli had a run-scoring single during a two-run third that
put Tampa Bay up 3-1.The Devil Rays, however, left five runners on and went 2-for-9
with runners in scoring position in the second and third innings.Texas wasted an opportunity in the fourth.Mark Teixeira extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10
games with a leadoff double. He was thrown out trying to steal
third as the next batter, Shane Spencer, drew a walk on a 3-2
pitch.Spencer was left stranded.Teixeira had an RBI single in the sixth."Baseball is a weird game," Teixeira said. "Stuff like that
happens. It's one of those things, you've got to put it behind you.
We have a lot more games to go."Lugo drove in a run with his fourth single of the game in a
two-run seventh that extended Tampa Bay's lead to 15-2."Hitting is contagious," Martin said. "It definitely is."
Rangers RF Juan Gonzalez (strained right calf) missed the
game. He will not accompany the team for a two-game series that
begins Monday at Baltimore and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. ...
The Devil Rays scored 15 runs three times previously, the last June
4, 2000, at the New York Mets. ... Tampa Bay has been outhomered
67-33 at home. ... Baldelli's homer was just his fourth extra-base
hit this month. ... Texas SS Alex Rodriguez snapped an 0-for-12
slide with a sixth-inning single. He has just three hits in his
past 27 at-bats. ... The Devil Rays are 1-10 in day games at home.