ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- In a game full of missed
opportunities, Nick Green finally made the most of one.
Of course, even his game-winning hit came right after he failed
to get a bunt down. Green's broken-bat single in the 10th inning
gave the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics
on Friday night.The teams went a combined 4-for-25 with runners in scoring
position and Green almost added to the dismal production.Joey Gathright began the 10th with a leadoff triple against Juan Cruz
and Carl Crawford was intentionally walked before Green failed to
get the bunt down before getting his first hit with the Devil Rays
on an 0-2 pitch from Cruz (0-1)."I put myself in a hole ... it was my fault," Green said.
"It's definitely a nice way to end it, especially getting my first
hit out of the way too."Green was in the lineup for the first time since he was acquired
from Atlanta for pitcher Jorge Sosa on March 31. He has been slowed
by a groin strain."He got just enough," manager Lou Piniella said. "We had him
in there, gave him his first start and he wins the ballgame with a
timely base hit."Danys Baez (2-0) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He faced one
hitter in the ninth, getting Erubiel Durazo to hit into an
inning-ending double play with the bases loaded."That was the game," Baez said. "I knew it was the most
important point of the game."Baez also escaped a two on, one-out jam in the 10th.Josh Phelps hit an RBI double in the first and Jorge Cantu hit
his third homer of the season in the second. He homered twice in
173 at-bats last season.The Athletics tied it at 2 in the fourth on run-scoring singles
by Scott Hatteberg and Mark Ellis.Oakland's Joe Blanton gave up two runs and four hits over five
innings in his first major league start. He made three relief
appearances with Oakland late last year after going 11-8 with a
4.19 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento."One thing I had been working on going into the game was my
mechanics," Blanton said. "They're still a little bit flawed. I
was kind of fighting them the whole game, but the way my start
went, I feel pretty good."Rob Bell went six innings for Tampa Bay, allowing two runs on
five hits. He struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.Oakland hit 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position. No. 3
hitter Eric Chavez struck out on the fifth and seventh, both times
with two on and one out. Durazo, who hit fourth, ended both
innings."We had a bunch of chances," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
"We just couldn't get that breakthrough hit."Julio Lugo and Cantu opened the bottom of the seventh with
singles off Justin Duchscherer. After Toby Hall's sacrifice bunt
moved the runners to second and third, Duchscherer started an
inning-ending double play by catching Gathright's liner and
throwing to third to double up Lugo.Tampa Bay had runners on first and third with one out in the
eighth, but failed to score when Cruz retired pinch-hitter Chris
Singleton on a short fly to left and struck out Travis Lee.
Tampa Bay C Charles Johnson was placed on the restricted
list without pay, two days after requesting a leave of absence to
handle a personal matter. Piniella said Johnson could rejoin the
team by early next week. ... Tampa Bay promoted C Tim Laker from
Triple-A Durham to back up Hall. ... Oakland OF Mark Kotsay went
3-for-5, giving him at least two hits in all four games this
season. He tied an Oakland record with 57 multihit games last
season. ... The Devil Rays obtained OF Reggie Taylor from Colorado
for LHP Bobby Seay, who had been designated for assignment April 2.
Taylor will join Triple-A Durham.