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

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

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.