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Tampa's runs trickle in, snapping Texas streak

5/5/2004

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays gave manager
Lou Piniella five reasons to believe he finally found the right
lineup.

Tino Martinez's second home run of the game broke a tie in the
ninth inning and the Devil Rays hit five home runs in a 5-4 win
Tuesday night, ending the Texas Rangers' five-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay started the night last in the AL in runs and was
averaging just 2.8 per game in its previous 17 games.

"Five solo shots were just enough," Piniella said. "The
lineup we played today, I like. It's the one you're going to see
out there more often."

The Devil Rays tied it in the seventh after trailing 4-1, then
Martinez led off the ninth with his fifth homer of the season into
the right-field seats off Jeff Nelson (0-2).

Martinez was facing Nelson for the first time. They were
teammates on the Seattle Mariners, then were traded together to the
New York Yankees in 1996 and won four World Series titles together.

"We came up together in the minors, and I know he's tough,"
Martinez said. "He's got good stuff. I managed to get the good
part of the bat on it. It was a fastball in. I was just trying to
it hard and it went out of the park."

Geoff Blum homered from both sides of the plate for the Devil
Rays, who had lost nine of 11. Julio Lugo added a homer for Tampa
Bay.

"This season, the team, me, it's a constant work in progress,"
said Blum, who didn't have a homer or RBI until Tuesday.
"Hopefully, this will be contagious."

Lance Carter (1-1) pitched a hitless eighth inning for the win.

Danys Baez gave up a leadoff double to Laynce Nix before getting
three outs for his third save in as many chances. Baez ended the
game by striking out Hank Blalock with a fastball.

"Blalock meant business up there," Piniella said. "That last
pitch by Baez exploded to the plate. It was a great major league
pitch."

Mark Teixeira homered for the Rangers, whose eight-game home
winning streak was stopped.

Tampa Bay starter Victor Zambrano allowed four runs and five
hits over seven innings. He struck out eight, walked five and threw
a career-high 134 pitches.

Rangers starter Chan Ho Park left with a 4-3 lead with two outs
in the sixth, having given up six hits. Park struck out five and
walked three.

Texas is trying to get more out of Park than last season, when
he was limited to seven starts because of back problems.

"Chan Ho kept us close and pitched his way through it,"
Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He gave us a chance to win.
He's looking for that consistency. He's competing, and that's what
I'm proud of. He's got the health to compete this year."

After Jay Powell got the first out of the seventh, Erasmo Ramirez relieved and gave up Blum's second homer of the night to tie it at 4.

Lugo's solo shot in the first gave Tampa Bay the lead. Teixeira
tied it in the second tied with his homer.

Texas went in front 2-1 in the third when Gerald Laird scored
from third as Blalock grounded into a double play.

Laird's two-out, two-run single in the fourth stretched Texas'
lead to 4-1.

Blum's leadoff homer in the fifth and Martinez's solo shot in
the sixth pulled Tampa Bay within 4-3.

The Devil Rays were the victims of an odd double play in the
sixth. While Jose Cruz Jr. attempted to steal second, Robert Fick
struck out swinging. Fick's follow-through obscured the vision of
Laird, the Rangers' catcher. That limited Laird's ability to throw
to second, where Cruz was safe. Home plate umpire Jerry Layne
called Cruz out on catcher's interference.

Game notes
Mariners pitching coach Chuck Hernandez was taken to Arlington Medical Center before the start of the game because he
had swelling in his right calf and team trainers feared that he
might have a blood clot. Tests were negative, and Hernandez returned
to The Ballpark, where he remained in the clubhouse applying ice to
his leg for the rest of the game. ... Blum had his third career
multihomer game, his second from both sides of the plate. ...
Martinez had his 20th multihomer game. ... Rangers CF Nix was back
in the lineup after missing four consecutive games with inflammation in his left big toe. ... Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff played in his 300th consecutive game, second-longest active streak in the majors behind Baltimore's Miguel Tejada (618). ...Tampa Bay had a season high for homers.