Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 4/16)

Game 1: Friday, April 16
Chi White Sox0Final
Tampa Bay3
Game 2: Saturday, April 17
Chi White Sox4Final
Tampa Bay1
Game 3: Sunday, April 18
Chi White Sox5Final
Tampa Bay0

White Sox 0

(6-4, 3-4 away)

Devil Rays 3

(5-4, 5-3 home)

    7:15 PM ET, April 16, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    TB 12000000 - 3 6 0

    W: P. Abbott (1-1)

    L: D. Wright (0-2)

    S: D. Baez (1)

    Rays' Abbott allowed four hits in seven innings

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays took a chance on Paul Abbott, and it might pay off in a big way.

    Abbott allowed four hits in seven innings and the Devil Rays got home runs from Carl Crawford and Julio Lugo in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

    "He was in command," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "Paul can pitch. He competes well. He knows what he wants to do."

    Abbott (1-1) struck out five and walked two. Only one runner -- Willie Harris in the first inning -- reached second base.

    "I threw a lot of cutters ... that pitch really saved me today," Abbott said. "Every pitcher sets a game goal to at least get seven (innings). I thought it was going to be hard for me not pitching in nine days. It was very satisfying."

    Abbott went 17-4 with Seattle in 2001. But he missed most of the past two seasons after undergoing right shoulder surgery in June 2002.

    Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Abbott held the New York Yankees hitless for 5 1-3 innings before taking a 3-2 loss in his other start this season on April 7.

    "From the first day I was here, I pushed it," Abbott said. "I prepared for this. Basically, I missed two years. Having a full spring training was crucial for me to get ready."

    Tampa Bay (5-4) matched its best start to a season through nine games.

    The Devil Rays are 5-1 in games not started by Yankees right-hander Kevin Brown, who already beat Tampa Bay three times this season.

    Trever Miller, Chad Gaudin and Danys Baez completed the four-hitter. Baez pitched the ninth for his first save.

    "Pitching like that, a couple home runs and good defense, and you're in business," Piniella said.

    White Sox starter Dan Wright (0-2) went 4 2-3 innings for the second consecutive start. He allowed three runs and five hits during his 82-pitch outing.

    "I felt fine," Wright said. "My fastball command wasn't where I wanted it to be. You can always look back to a pitch here or there and that's the difference. It's just a matter of making quality pitches all the way through."

    Chicago had won three straight. The White Sox came up short in a bid for their first 7-3 start since 1991.

    Crawford put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with his first career leadoff homer. It was also his first home run since Sept. 9.

    Lugo made it 3-0 with a two-run shot in the second. Going back to last season, he has 12 homers in his last 47 games.

    "They're not the same Tampa Bay you think of," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's easy to come here and get swept and not even know it."

    Chicago reliever Shingo Takatsu retired all five batters he faced -- including two on strikeouts -- in his second major league appearance. The career saves leader in Japan allowed two runs in one inning in his big league debut April 9 against the Yankees.

    Game notes

    Tampa Bay batting coach Lee Elia underwent tests at a hospital Friday after experiencing abdominal discomfort earlier in the week. The 66-year-old Elia could be released Saturday. ... The Devil Rays received permission from major league baseball to have senior adviser Don Zimmer in uniform to fill in for Elia. ... White Sox SS Jose Valentin missed the game with hamstring tightness. He might play Saturday. ... Chicago DH Frank Thomas has just one homer in his past 17 games at Tropicana Field. ... Tampa Bay RF Jose Cruz Jr. singled in the fourth and has reached base in 29 straight games. It's the longest active streak in the majors.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press