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Cox delivers in 10th for Tampa Bay

6/8/2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Steve Cox broke out of his slump.
Tanyon Sturtze was two outs away.

Cox singled home the winning run in the 10th inning to give the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on
Saturday night.

The Devil Rays improved to 4-2 in extra innings, winning for
just the second time in nine games.

''It's fun when you get after people and win,'' manager Hal
McRae said.

Ron Gant homered off Sturtze with one out in the top of the
ninth to tie it at 2. Sturtze was close to snapping a personal
seven-game losing streak and recording his first career complete
game, but Gant connected for his first homer in 45 at-bats.

''I guess it's just not meant to be for me right now,'' Sturtze
said. ''I don't think I'm throwing the ball that poorly, but the
results are not very good. Hopefully, that changes around pretty
soon.''

Randy Winn hit a leadoff single off Alan Embree (3-4) in the
10th and went to second after Embree fielded Jason Conti's bunt and
made a bad throw that pulled shortstop Deivi Cruz off second base
for an error.

''It was bunted pretty firm right back at me,'' Embree said. ''I
just missed the bag.''

Winn then stole third uncontested, forcing the Padres to play
the infield in.

''That really put us in a bind,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy
said. ''He (Embree) can't go quite that high on that kick with that
speed out there. They did the right thing.''

Winn scored on Cox's broken-bat bloop hit into shallow center
field.

''It wasn't like it was a great piece of hitting,'' said Cox,
who had just six hits in his previous 47 at-bats. ''It just
happened to work. It's always nice to get wins, no matter how you
do it.''

Sturtze has a 5.10 ERA. He has gone 13 starts without a win from
the beginning of the season, which ties Bryan Rekar (2001) for the
franchise record.

''It was my fault ... I was the one who threw the home run,''
Sturtze said. ''It's frustrating. I really wanted that first win so
I could stop talking about it.''

Sturtze went a career-high nine innings, allowing two runs and
seven hits. At 0-7, the right-hander has the longest losing streak
by an AL pitcher this season.

Victor Zambrano (2-4) worked a scoreless inning for the victory.

Jared Sandberg gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in
the seventh. He struck out with two on and two outs in the ninth.

San Diego's Brett Tomko allowed two runs and eight hits in eight
innings. The Padres have scored two runs or less in seven of his 13
starts.

''I'll take that effort every time,'' Bochy said. ''We've got to
swing these bats. It's OK to score more than two runs.''

The Padres have dropped eight of nine, scoring more than three
runs just once.

Tampa Bay went up 1-0 in the fifth when Winn grounded into a
double play with runners on first and third.

The Devil Rays have grounded into just 26 double plays, and are
on pace to break the major league record for the fewest in one
season (75), set by the 1945 St. Louis Cardinals.

Ryan Klesko tied it for San Diego at 1-all with a sixth-inning
RBI single. The hit drove in Mark Kotsay, who extended his
career-high hitting streak to 15 games with a double.

The Padres got the leadoff hitter on in each of the first three
innings. However, runners were thrown out attempting to steal
twice, and Tom Lampkin hit into a third-inning double play.

Ramon Vazquez doubled after Lampkin's double play, but was left
stranded when Kotsay flied out. Vazquez flied out with two runners
on and two outs in the fifth.

''It's one of those games,'' Gant said. ''They just got one run
when it counted. That's the bottom line.''

Game notes
Tampa Bay has played 31 games decided by two runs or less,
going 13-18. ... San Diego is 12-7 in one-run games. ... Klesko has
reached base on a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 51 consecutive
games. ... Tampa Bay C John Flaherty threw out two runners
attempting to steal. After starting the season 0-for-12, Flaherty
has thrown out six of eight. ... Devil Rays cleanup hitter Ben
Grieve has just two homers in his past 140 at-bats. ... Of San
Diego's 15 hits in the series, 10 have been for extra bases.