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Easley beats Tigers with 10th-inning triple

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers are paying Damion Easley
millions of dollars to not play for them this season.

Apparently, it still isn't enough.

Easley returned to Comerica Park on Saturday and beat Detroit,
lofting a pinch-hit triple in the 10th inning that sent the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays to an 8-6 victory.

"There's a little satisfaction there,'' Easley said. "I came
here to compete against my friends and try to beat them.''

Easley signed with Tampa Bay in early April, five days after
Detroit made him the most expensive player cut loose in baseball
history. The Tigers owed him $14.3 million when he was released.

"Nothing that happened today changes the way I feel about
Damion,'' Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He is a quality guy
and he was a great teammate. We made a business decision, but he is
still the same good person. I just wish we could have gotten him
out.''

The Devil Rays blew leads of 5-1 and 6-3, but pulled the game
out in the 10th. Detroit dropped its sixth in a row to fall to 3-25
this season.

"We battled and got some big hits, but we can't finish,'' said
Detroit's Carlos Pena, who hit a two-run homer. "We don't have
that knockout punch right now. It is as simple as that.''

Aubrey Huff, who had already homered twice, walked on four
pitches to start the 10th. Travis Lee's sacrifice bunt moved
pinch-runner George Lombard to second, and the Devil Rays sent up
Easley to hit for Al Martin.

"I thought about the moment while I was on deck, but once I got
up there, I was just thinking about getting in a man on second,''
he said.

Easley, who played for Detroit from 1996-2002, hit a long fly
into the right-field corner and the ball bounced out of Bobby
Higginson's glove as he hit the wall. Lombard, who also played for
the Tigers last season, scored easily.

"I should have made that play,'' Higginson said. "The wind was
carrying that way all day, and I wasn't sure where I was. It just
hit off the heel of my glove.''

After an intentional walk to Toby Hall, Chris Truby, yet another
member of the 2002 Tigers, hit a single through the drawn-in
infield to make it 8-6.

"I didn't even think about all that until the inning was
over,'' Lombard said. "When we got back to the dugout, everyone
was making fun of the ex-Tigers and saying all our hate was coming
out.''

Al Levine (2-1) pitched the final two innings to pick up the
win. Wil Ledezma (0-2) took the loss.

The Tigers trailed 6-3 in the eighth, but Craig Monroe hit a
three-run homer over the new fence in left field off Lance Carter.

With one out in the inning, Higginson walked and Travis Harper
hit Dean Palmer with a pitch. Mike Venafro came in and got Pena to
fly out, but Carter then allowed Monroe's second homer of the
season.

The Devil Rays were managed by bench coach John McLaren with Lou
Piniella serving a one-game suspension for his part in Wednesday's
beanball trouble in Minnesota.

Dewon Brazelton started for Tampa Bay, but the bullpen cost him
his first major-league win in his season debut. The third pick of
the 2001 draft gave up three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He
struck out four and walked one.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Higginson's third
homer, but Tampa Bay came back with three runs in the third off
Adam Bernero.

Rey Ordonez and Carl Crawford led off the inning with singles,
putting runners on the corners.

Bernero picked Crawford off first, but Ordonez broke for the
plate during the rundown and was thrown out. Crawford took third on
the play and scored on Marlon Anderson's sacrifice fly.

Rocco Baldelli followed with a walk and Huff homered.

In the fifth, Anderson walked and Huff homered again. Both of
Huff's shots came with two outs.

Pena's second homer of the season made it 5-3 in the sixth.

Game notes
To make room on the roster for Brazelton, Tampa Bay
optioned infielder Felix Escalona to Double-A Orlando. ... Huff's
only other two-homer game came against the Red Sox on July 30,
2002. ... Brazelton retired the Tigers on only six pitches in the
fifth inning. ... Detroit's only other multihomer game of the
season came April 27 in Seattle. ... The game drew 13,371 on a
sunny 60-degree afternoon.