ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella knows exactly why his team is playing well.
"The secret really is for our starting pitchers to give us an opportunity," Piniella said. "That's exactly what happened here."Seth McClung allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, leading Tampa Bay past the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.McClung (4-7) struck out five and walked one as the Devil Rays improved to 21-12 since the All-Star break."I didn't feel like I had my best stuff," McClung said. "I really just try to keep the game close. The team won this game."Joe Borowski ran his scoreless stretch to 16 1/3 innings with a perfect eighth before Danys Baez got three outs for his 27th save in 34 opportunities."I go out there with the belief that I can get everybody I face out," said Borowski, who signed with Tampa Bay on July 11 after being released by the Cubs. "That's key. When the inevitable happens, I'll look back on it, but right now you've just got to ride with it. I'm just going to run with this as long as it lasts."Alex Gonzalez had an RBI single during a two-run sixth for Tampa Bay, which has won three straight and six of seven. Center fielder Joey Gathright made a leaping catch at the wall to take an extra-base hit away from Alfonso Soriano in the seventh."I'll try to catch everything hit," Gathright said. "I didn't know the wall was that close. All I was thinking was see the ball, catch the ball."The Rangers got a run-scoring single from Mark Teixeira, one of their three hits overall. It's only the third time this year they have been held to three or fewer. Texas has lost 10 of 11 during a 13-game road trip.Jonny Gomes opened the Tampa Bay sixth with a double and went to third on Travis Lee's single. Lee screened second baseman Soriano on Gonzalez's single that wound up in center and drove in Gomes."Tough play," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.Toby Hall put the Devil Rays up 2-1 with a sacrifice fly later in the sixth.Texas took a 1-0 lead on Teixeira's run-scoring single off McClung in the first. He has 12 RBI in his last 14 games.McClung retired 13 straight after Teixeira's hit before Adrian Gonzalez singled with two outs in the fifth.Tampa Bay had two hits in the first and one in each of the next four innings but failed to score. Gomes popped out to end the first with runners on first and third. Julio Lugo singled and then stole second and third in the fifth but was stranded when Juan Dominguez (0-3) struck out Aubrey Huff for the third out.Dominguez allowed two runs and nine hits over 5 1/3 innings in his second start and 14th appearance of the season. He struck out five and walked one."I felt fine," Dominguez said. "Everything was working. You have to give them credit for adjusting to me."
McClung won consecutive starts for the first since May 2003. He missed last season after undergoing right elbow surgery. ... Rangers right fielder Kevin Mench was back in the lineup after missing two games with a sore back and went 0-for-3. ... Lugo started after being limited to pinch-hitting duty the previous two games because
of a sore left hand. ... Dominguez threw 105 pitches. ... The Rangers, who lead the majors with 199 homers, have not connected in two straight games for the fourth time this season.