ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Rocco Baldelli used his all-around
game to help Tampa Bay get back on track.
Baldelli had an RBI double and threw a runner out at the plate
Tuesday night to help the Devil Rays end their six-game losing
streak with a 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
"It's nice to win after losing a few in a row," Tampa Bay
manager Lou Piniella said.
Baldelli hit the run-scoring double during a two-run third that
put Tampa Bay up 3-1.
The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the first off Dewon
Brazelton (3-3), but failed to score because of Baldelli's
defensive play in center field. He caught Ken Harvey's fly in
medium center and then made a strong throw to catcher Toby Hall to
retire a sliding David DeJesus, who was tagging up from third.
"I was lucky I threw a strike," Baldelli said. "The throw was
a little high. It was over the cut (off man). As an outfielder, you
try to throw it through the cut off man. It wasn't through the cut
off man, so I'm glad it was on the money."
Brazelton allowed two runs, six hits, four walks and struck out
three over six-plus innings.
"That's a great play on his part," Brazelton said. "It was a
big boost. At that point in time, I was struggling a little bit. My
defense, maybe, allowed me two or three innings so I could get back
to where I needed to be."
Brazelton left after facing two batters in the seventh with
cramps in his left hamstring, but Piniella said Brazelton will make
his next scheduled start Sunday.
Hall homered and drove in three runs for the Devil Rays (46-53),
who are 6-15 since they were a season-high two-games over .500 on
Joe Randa homered for the Royals, who have lost five straight.
Kansas City has an AL-worst record of 35-63.
"We had our chances," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "We just
cannot get a big hit in the right situation."
Darrell May (7-11) gave up five runs and seven hits in five
innings. He struck out six and walked one during a 94-pitch outing.
"I felt like I was keeping the ball in good," May said. "But
then I'd come back with a pitch up in the zone and the results
showed for themselves. I gave up a lot of hits."
Carl Crawford had an infield single in the third, stole second
and scored on Baldelli's double. Baldelli stole third and then
scored when catcher John Buck was charged with an error for an
errant throw on the play.
"When we're playing well, that's what we're doing," Baldelli
said. "That's one of our strong points, our speed. For us to be
playing quality ball and to win games, we have to take advantage of
Crawford also stole second in the seventh. He leads the majors
with 43 steals this season.
Hall extended the Tampa Bay lead to 5-1 on a two-run homer in
the fourth, his first since June 8.
Aubrey Huff put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with an RBI double in the
bottom of the first.
Randa tied it at 1 with a homer in the second inning. It was his
first homer since May 15. Randa underwent arthroscopic knee surgery
June 28 and was activated from the disabled list Saturday.
Harper allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. Closer Danys
Baez pitched the ninth.
Hall made it 6-2 with an RBI single in the eighth.
Tampa Bay 1B Tino Martinez stole third in the second. It
was just his 24th stolen base in 1,838 games. "I didn't have the
nerve to give him the green light," Piniella joked. "I was
waiting for him to try and steal home."... Harvey also flew out
with two on and two outs in the third. He has eight RBI in his
last 28 games. ... Royals SS Angel Berroa was rested. He is hitless
in nine at-bats. ... Brazelton has allowed just one homer -- to New
York's Alex Rodriguez -- in 55 2-3 innings this season.