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Crawford triples, homers in first inning

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella never
had a first inning like this.

Carl Crawford tripled and homered during a 10-run first, and
Scott Kazmir won his second straight start as the Devil Rays beat
the Oakland Athletics 14-6 Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay set a team record for runs scored in the first inning
and was one shy of the club mark for any frame, set in the eighth
inning of a 14-4 win over Seattle on May 28, 2000.

"That was as fine a first inning as I've ever seen," Piniella
said. "Crawford got us started. Everybody was involved. I don't
remember seeing an inning like that to start a ballgame."

Crawford finished with three RBI in his first multihit game
since May 9.

Kazmir (2-4), a 21-year-old left-hander acquired from the New
York Mets last summer, gave up two runs -- one earned -- and seven
hits in six innings.

"We were just teeing off," Kazmir said. "It was awesome."

Oakland, which held a players-only meeting before batting
practice, has lost four straight and 13 of 16.

"I guess you could say it didn't work," third baseman Eric
Chavez said. "We're just going through a bad time and we've all
just got to pull out of it. Right now, as we're getting our
licking, you've got to keep your head up and keep going. You can't
quit."

At 17-28, the Athletics fell 11 games under .500 for the first
time since finishing the 1998 season with a 74-88 record.

"I know our club's better than this," Oakland manager Ken
Macha said. "We're not lighting it up on any aspect of the game."

Joe Blanton (0-5) gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- six hits
and a walk in one-third of an inning. He has lasted five innings or
fewer in four of his last five starts.

"Coming out of the bullpen, that's the best I've felt in four
or five starts at least," Blanton said. "Sometimes you feel awful
going into the game and wind up going six innings and don't give up
a run. Some days you come out feeling great and it happens like
this."

Tampa Bay's first eight hitters reached against Blanton, whose
ERA to rose from 5.15 to 6.55.

"You have to be pleased with the ballgame, you're going to be
pleased with effort and you're got to be pleased that our young
starter got his second win in a row," Piniella said.

It was the shortest non-injury related outing by an Oakland
starter since Blake Stein faced eight batters without recording an
out at Cleveland on Aug. 31, 1998. The Athletics also allowed 10
runs in the first inning in that game, a 15-6 loss to the Indians.

Crawford tripled and scored on Julio Lugo's double, Damon
Hollins had an infield single and Travis Lee made it 2-0 with a
double.

Josh Phelps walked, and Jorge Cantu hit a two-run double. Alex
Sanchez drove in a run with an infield hit and Nick Green hit a
sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.

Britt Reames, who had been called up before the game from
Triple-A Sacramento, relieved and gave up a three-run homer to
Crawford on an 0-2 pitch. Hollins added his fourth homer in five
games, a solo shot.

"I've never been through anything like that," Crawford said.

Reames gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"No one wants to lose like that," Reames said. "There's not
one guy in here that doesn't feel embarrassed about it."

Tampa Bay reliever Jon Switzer walked five and got just three
outs, allowing four runs -- three earned. Devil Rays' pitchers
walked eight in becoming the first AL team to surpass 200 this
season.

Game notes
Sanchez bruised his right shin when he fouled a ball off it
in the fourth. He finished the at-bat but left after grounding out.
X-rays were negative, and he's day to day. ... The Athletics
activated OF Nick Swisher (right shoulder) from the 15-day DL. They
also optioned OF Matt Watson to Sacramento and designated OF
Jermaine Clark for assignment. ... Tampa Bay RF Aubrey Huff missed
his second straight game with a stomach virus. ... Athletics RHP
Justin Duchscherer, slowed by back pain, threw a scoreless inning
in his first appearance in 13 games.