Cruz went 4-for-4 with a home run and three doubles, and the
Devil Rays won consecutive games for the first time this season
with a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
"It's a first for me, I've never had a night like this
before," said Cruz, who found the game ball and lineup card on the
chair in front of his locker.
Relievers Trever Miller, Lance Carter and Danys Baez combined
for six scoreless innings for the Devil Rays, who needed 40 games
to record back-to-back victories. They're the 11th team to go this
deep into the season without two straight wins.
"We could never imagine it would be like this," Cruz said.
"We can't change the past. Hopefully this will get us on a roll."
Miller (1-1) allowed one hit and struck out three after
replacing starter Paul Abbott in the fourth. Carter retired his
first four batters before walking Travis Hafner with one out in the
eighth. Baez pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his sixth save.
"If we win eight or nine, we can feel sporty about it," Miller
C.C. Sabathia (2-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in seven
innings in his first loss to the Devil Rays after winning his first
five starts against them. Sabathia threw seven shutout innings in
last Sunday's 10-0 win over Tampa Bay.
"They pretty much hit everything," Sabathia said. "They were
swinging the bats well today."
With the game tied 3-3, the Devil Rays went ahead when Cruz
kicked the ball out of catcher Victor Martinez's glove as he tried
to score on Toby Hall's fly ball to right. Martinez was charged
with an error on the play.
Cruz, who drove in two runs and scored three times, doubled in
his first three at-bats before hitting a solo homer in the eighth.
"Jose Cruz, what a night," Miller said. "That was fun to
watch. It's good to see these guys starting to get the confidence
back and have some fun when they come to the ballpark. For a long
time there it wasn't much fun for anybody."
Cruz entered with just 12 hits in his past 93 at-bats. But he
did go 2-for-4 Thursday in a 9-6 win over Boston for his first
multihit game since May 3.
"We tried to go soft, we tried to go hard. He just had a good
night," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said of Cruz.
Tampa Bay took an early lead against Sabathia, scoring twice in
the first. Rocco Baldelli hit an RBI single and Cruz added a
run-scoring double to make it 2-0.
Baldelli has driven in three runs in the past two games. He had
only two in the previous 11.
Blake had just three RBI in his previous 12 games.
Tampa Bay tied it at 3 on Julio Lugo's RBI double in the fourth.
Abbott gave up three runs, five hits, three walks and hit a
batter in three innings. He threw 79 pitches. Abbott is winless in
his last five starts, and has allowed 27 runs -- 24 earned -- 34 hits
and 15 walks in 21 2-3 innings over the stretch.
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said Abbott is physically
fine, but struggled with his control. He also said the right-hander
will remain in the rotation. ... Cleveland's Jody Gerut made his
first start of the season in center. ... Tampa Bay 3B/DH Aubrey
Huff started at first base for the first time this season. ...
Cleveland is 6-13 on the road. ... Tampa Bay OF Midre Cummings
accepted an assignment to Triple-A Durham. He had been designated
for assignment Tuesday.