ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay found its offense against
Oakland on Saturday night.
Pete LaForest and Carl Crawford drove in two runs each and
Aubrey Huff stole home to lead the Devil Rays over the Athletics
7-4."We've been talking about putting up runs against this team and
we did," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.The Devil Rays had scored just 13 runs in losing six straight to
the A's and 18 of 21. LaForest hit a two-run double and Crawford
had a pair of RBI singles for the Devil Rays (56-84), who surpassed
their 2002 victory total.Huff stole home in the seventh. He broke for the plate as
pinch-hitter Terry Shumpert got into position for a bunt, and
Ricardo Rincon's pitch went behind Shumpert, allowing Huff to
score."It's just a freak thing," said Huff of his seventh career
stolen base, his second this year. "I was just lucky to get one
regular steal."Huff wasn't aware the bunt play was on until third base coach
Tom Foley said something at the last second."I just took off," Huff said.Jose Guillen homered and drove in two runs for the AL
West-leading Athletics, who maintained a two-game lead over
second-place Seattle. Oakland has lost three of four following a
10-game winning streak."It's coming down to the end and we've got to continue to
focus, play hard and we've got make sure we get the good
pitching," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.Rob Bell (4-3) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.
Lance Carter pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 29 chances.Athletics bench coach Terry Francona was ejected by plate umpire
Hunter Wendelstedt in the eighth for expressing displeasure about
the strike zone."I'm as stunned as anybody," Macha said. "He said we were
badgering him all night. ... That's not a true statement."Oakland starter Rich Harden (4-4) allowed five runs and eight
hits in 3 2-3 innings. He has given up 25 runs and 34 hits over 27
1-3 innings in last six starts."I feel strong but my velocity was down," Harden said. "I'm
more inconsistent now than I ever have been."Erubiel Durazo's sacrifice fly put Oakland ahead in the first,
but LaForest's two-out, two-run double gave Tampa Bay the lead in
the second.Huff had an RBI grounder and Al Martin drove in a run with a
double to make it 4-1 in the third. Huff has 22 RBI in his past 15
games.Guillen's fourth-inning homer pulled the A's to 4-2. All six of
his homers with Oakland have been solo shots.Tampa Bay got the run back in the bottom half on Crawford's RBI
single, which chased Harden. Guillen had an RBI single in the
fifth.Crawford hit his second RBI single for a 6-3 lead in the sixth.
Eric Chavez singled home a run in the seventh.
Guillen was back in the lineup after sitting out two games
while serving a suspension for his actions with Cincinnati earlier
this year. ... Devil Rays CF Rocco Baldelli took away an extra-base
hit from Durazo with a leaping catch near the fence in third. ...
Oakland LF Terrence Long, in an 0-for-11 slide, singled in the
second and fourth. ... Crawford stole second in the third. He leads
the AL with 47 stolen bases. ... Martin had struck out in four
previous at-bats -- including once Saturday -- against Harden before
his third-inning double.