ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Manager Lou Piniella can't explain
why Devil Rays pitchers have given up so many grand slams.
Rod Barajas hit his first career grand slam, Kevin Mench had a
bases-loaded triple and the Texas Rangers nearly blew an eight-run
lead in a 12-10 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.The Devil Rays have given up four slams in the last six games,
two shy of the most they allowed in an entire season. Entering
Wednesday, the rest of the AL had give up just three."I don't know ... We're going to start putting the balls in the
freezer," Piniella said with a smile.Barajas was mired in a 1-for-14 slide before putting the Rangers
up 6-1 with a homer on the first pitch off John Webb during a
five-run fourth inning. Mench drove in three runs in a four-run
fifth."We got the big hits when we needed them," Mench said. "Rod
got one pitch to hit and he hammered it."Laynce Nix, recalled by the Rangers from Triple-A Oklahoma
before the game, had three run-scoring singles."We took a game where we scored a lot of runs and made it real
interesting," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.Charles Johnson, Carl Crawford and Aubrey Huff had two RBI each
for the Devil Rays, who trailed by eight in the fifth inning.A night after beating the New York Yankees 6-2, the Devil Rays
outhit Texas 15-11 but lost for the fifth time in six games."I'd be lying if I said it ain't frustrating," Crawford said.
"What can you do? You've got to take it in stride. You've got to
keep grinding it out. Show up the next day and try again."Crawford hit an RBI double, Jorge Cantu had a run-scoring single
and Huff added a sacrifice fly to pull Tampa Bay to 12-10 in the
eighth.Texas starter Ryan Drese (2-1) gave up seven runs and eight hits
in 5 1/3 innings. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his major
league-leading seventh save.Webb (0-1) was called up from Triple-A Durham earlier Wednesday
to replace injured left-hander Mark Hendrickson. He allowed eight
runs and six hits over four-plus innings in his first career start
and fifth major league appearance.Tampa Bay went up 1-0 in the first on Huff's sacrifice fly. Hank
Blalock tied it with an RBI double in the third-inning.Nix had a run-scoring single before Barajas hit his grand slam
in the fourth."It was my first at the big league level, so I was excited
about that," Barajas said.Tampa Bay scored just once -- on Johnson's walk -- after loading
the bases with one out in the bottom half. Alex Gonzalez hit into
an inning-ending double play.Mench had a three-run triple and Nix added an RBI single to put
Texas up 10-2 in the fifth.Johnson had an RBI double, and Josh Phelps, Gonzalez, Crawford
and Julio Lugo hit run-scoring single in the sixth that made it
10-7.Texas got two runs back in the seventh on Nix's third RBI single
and Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice fly.Soriano went 1-for-3 with a walk after missing one game because
of a bruised left knee. After talking Showalter about the decision
before Tuesday's 3-0 win against Oakland, Soriano kicked a garbage
can onto its side and then kicked a rolling laundry cart when he
came back into the clubhouse.
Rangers minor league RHP Agustin Montero was suspended for
10 days, becoming the third player to test positive under major
league baseball's new steroids policy. Agustin, who has never
appeared in a major league game, failed the drug test while he was
on the Rangers' 40-man roster during spring training. ... To make
room for Nix, 1B-DH Adrian Gonzalez was optioned to Oklahoma. ...
Hendrickson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday
with a left shoulder injury, could make his next start on April 29.
... With Hendrickson in line to pitch next week, Webb will move
into the bullpen.