Series: Game 4 of 4

Tampa Bay won 3-1

Game 1: Monday, May 31
Tampa Bay7Final
Game 2: Tuesday, June 1
Tampa Bay4Final
Game 3: Wednesday, June 2
Tampa Bay4Final
Game 4: Thursday, June 3
Tampa Bay5Final

Devil Rays 5

(20-32, 6-18 away)

Twins 2

(28-25, 15-11 home)

    1:10 PM ET, June 3, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000004001 5 6 0
    MIN 100100000 2 6 0

    W: M. Hendrickson (3-5)

    L: J. Santana (2-4)

    S: D. Baez (10)

    Rays have won 10 of last 14

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays think they're starting to come around, and the Minnesota Twins are sure glad to see them go.

    Aubrey Huff hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Devil Rays beat the slumping Twins 5-2 Thursday.

    "We're not out of the woods, believe me, but it's better," said manager Lou Piniella, after his team rallied to win a road series for the first time in 12 tries since last Aug. 26-28 at Seattle.

    Tampa Bay, held hitless for five innings by Minnesota starter Johan Santana, arrived at the Metrodome this week with the worst road record in the majors -- now 6-18 -- and took three of four.

    The Devil Rays, perennial losers since they began playing in 1998, faced several tough teams to start this season and weren't enjoying it.

    "We had four or five guys hitting in the .100s, the pitchers weren't throwing well and nothing was going right," Huff said.

    Now, after 10 wins in their last 14 games?

    "Everybody's starting to relax and have a little bit more fun at the ballpark," said Huff, whose improvement has mirrored his team's upswing. He has a hit in 12 straight games, with four homers and 12 RBI in his last seven.

    Lew Ford hit a leadoff home run for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of its last 14 -- including five of seven to last-place Tampa Bay over the 10 days.

    "They've given us a tough time this year," said Santana (2-4), who lost his fourth straight start.

    Mark Hendrickson (3-5) got the victory with 6 1-3 solid innings, and Danys Baez worked the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances.

    "It's good to come out and play good on the road," Hendrickson said. "It's something we really haven't done this year."

    After going 11-2 with a 2.85 ERA in his 18 starts last season, Santana has had a disappointing start to his first year as a full-time member of the rotation.

    He threw seven shutout innings against Seattle on May 13, but he hasn't won since. His ERA is 5.50.

    "What can you say? He pitched his tail off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He just had one bad inning."

    That was the sixth, when Geoff Blum ended an 0-for-20 slump by leading off with a sharp double. Julio Lugo's two-out infield single cut the lead to 2-1. After Rocco Baldelli hit a single that squeaked through the left side, Huff hammered a hanging slider on an 0-1 count into the football press box to make it 4-2.

    "I felt pretty good," Santana said. "I'm just trying to go out there and do the best I can. I'm not frustrated. ... We're going through a tough time. This game is very tricky."

    Matthew LeCroy singled off Hendrickson's foot in the fourth and scored on a double by Henry Blanco that fell between Baldelli and Jose Cruz Jr. in right-center field.

    Winning for the first time in four starts, Hendrickson gave up six hits, two runs and three walks in 6 1-3 innings.

    After inheriting a runner with one out in the seventh, reliever Travis Harper got Ford to hit into an inning-ending double play.

    The Twins are hitting .179 in their seven games against the Devil Rays this year, and they've scored three runs or less in six of their last 10 games -- all losses.

    "We have to find a way to make our own breaks when things aren't going our way," Gardenhire said. "It's not because guys aren't trying. If anything, they're trying too hard."

    Toby Hall added an RBI single in the ninth for Tampa Bay, which is stuck in the AL East behind the Yankees, Red Sox and improved Orioles.

    "They can score some runs," Gardenhire said. "They're not a bad team. They're just in the wrong division."

    Game notes

    Twins 1B Doug Mientkiewicz sat out with a sore wrist, and SS Cristian Guzman went to the dentist with a toothache that kept him from sleeping the night before. ... Someone hung a sign in the upper deck that said, "Play McGriff." Since rejoining the Devil Rays last week, 1B Fred McGriff has made three starts. Eight home runs short of 500 for his career, McGriff did not play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press