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Tepid offense warms up

BALTIMORE (AP) -- On the night when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
found their hitting touch, the Baltimore Orioles lost their grip on
first place in the AL East.

Tino Martinez and Rocco Baldelli homered to lead a rare Tampa
Bay power surge, and the Devil Rays ended Baltimore's five-game
winning streak with a 7-3 victory Wednesday night.

The Devil Rays snapped a three-game skid in which they failed to
get an extra-base hit. They ranked last in the AL in runs (43 in 12
games) and had scored only six runs in their previous five games.

This time, however, Tampa Bay had 12 hits -- including two homers
and a double.

"Our bats, they came alive," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella
said. "That was a good win for us. Now I'd like to see if we can
get a little consistency going."

The upstart Orioles had been in first place since April 16, but
the defeat dropped them a half-game behind Boston, which beat
Toronto 4-2.

Paul Abbott (2-1) allowed three runs and two hits in six
innings. He was perfect through four innings, but he walked the
first two batters in the fifth before Jay Gibbons hit a three-run
homer.

The drive brought the Orioles to 7-3, but Baltimore got only
three more hits after that.

Abbott now has many wins this season as he did in the past two
years combined. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2002 and finally
appears to have returned to peak form.

"When you win two games in two years, you're kind of off the
radar a little bit," he said. "We got the win, and I feel
great."

Tampa Bay feasted on Baltimore starter Matt Riley (1-1), who
gave up seven runs, nine hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings. He
came in second in the AL with a 1.35 ERA but finished at 4.58.

"It's frustrating," Riley said. "This team has done a great
job of scoring runs, but I just didn't do my job. I didn't give us
a chance to win."

It was a struggle from the outset, as Riley gave up two
first-inning runs and never retired the side in order.

"He just couldn't get it going," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli
said. "I just don't feel like he was ever in sync at all. It
seemed like he was fighting himself most of the night."

The Devil Rays' two-run first inning matched the total runs they
scored in their previous three games. After Carl Crawford drew a
leadoff walk, Damian Rolls doubled to end Tampa Bay's run of 113
at-bats without an extra-base hit.

Eduardo Perez then singled in a run with one out and Martinez
drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Julio Lugo hit a two-out RBI
single to right, but Gibbons threw out Perez trying to score.

Baldelli led off the third with drive that carried over the
center-field wall, snapping a 1-for-13 skid with his first
extra-base hit of the year.

The Devil Rays batted around and chased Riley during a four-run
fifth. Martinez hit his team-high third homer, a three-run shot to
right, and Crawford added an RBI single to make it 7-0.

"We have good hitters on this team and we know that," Martinez
said. "Hopefully this game will get us going and kick our offense
into gear. It feels good tonight."

Game notes
Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff was held out of the starting lineup
with a virus, but he pinch hit in the ninth to extend his
club-record streak of consecutive games played to 288. It's the
second-longest active streak behind Baltimore shortstop Miguel
Tejada's 608. ... Tampa Bay started the game tied for last in the
AL with 10 homers. ... Javy Lopez went 1-for-3 to extend his
hitting streak to 16 games, including the final three games of last
season. ... Abbott has given up just 10 hits and five runs in 19
innings.