MIAMI (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays rebounded nicely from
their worst shutout loss in club history.
Aubrey Huff homered and drove in three runs to help the Devil
Rays beat Carl Pavano and the struggling Florida Marlins 4-2 Friday
night.Tampa Bay bounced back from a 14-0 drubbing by Toronto on
Thursday and handed the defending World Series champions their 10th
loss in 14 games."We got roughed up, so this is a nice way to start the road
trip," said manager Lou Piniella, whose club improved to 39-38.
"Now let's see if we can stick our noses two games above .500."The Devil Rays have never been two games over .500 this late in
the season.Huff hit his 11th homer in the seventh inning, a two-out,
two-run shot to straightaway center off Pavano that broke a 2-all
tie. Huff also had an RBI single in Tampa Bay's two-run third.Mike Lowell hit his 19th homer and third in four games. But the
Marlins failed to score more than four runs for the 11th time in 16
games."You keep waiting and waiting and waiting," manager Jack
McKeon said. "We're better than this. We're a better offensive
club than this. It's not acceptable."Pavano (9-3) lost for the first time in eight starts. He gave up
four runs and a season-high 12 hits in seven innings.It was the 13th consecutive start in which he's pitched at least
seven innings. But for just the third time in those outings, he
allowed more than three runs.He had won five straight starts thanks to a 1.37 ERA and had
given up a combined 11 runs in his last seven starts (6-0, 1.86
ERA)."One pitch cost us the ballgame," Pavano said. "It's tough to
choke when you're coming off losing the series in Tampa and the
series in Atlanta."Danys Baez retired Alex Gonzalez and Mike Redmond with runners
at second and third in the ninth to preserve the victory.Rob Bell, making his first start since June 12, kept the Marlins
in check for five innings. He also started Tampa Bay's scoring.Bell doubled with one out in the third and scored on Carl
Crawford's single. Crawford finished 4-for-5, his fifth four-hit
game this season."We were ready to play after getting shut out," Crawford said.
"We were quite focused. Everybody was."Robert Fick followed with a single before Huff's first big hit.Pavano settled down after the two-run inning and cruised until
the seventh.Rey Sanchez opened the inning with a single and moved to second
on a fielder's choice. Fick lined out sharply to third, then Huff
drove Pavano's 1-1 changeup to the deepest part of Pro Player
Stadium."It was just a pitch out over the plate that he was able to get
a good hack on," Pavano said.Lowell connected off Bell in the fourth, one of only four hits
against the right-hander in 5 1-3 innings.Bell left the game after Juan Pierre singled and Luis Castillo
walked in the sixth. But reliever Jesus Colome couldn't hold the
lead, giving up an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera that briefly tied
the score.Aside from that hit, Colome (2-1) was perfect in 1 2-3 innings.Baez got four outs for his 16th save in 18 chances. He's worked
more than one inning in half of his saves."Every game we win has been because we have executed and done
the right things," Bell said. "We've won because we've deserved
to win. We're not on an emotional roller coaster. We're clicking in
all areas, and that's why we're winning."
The Devil Rays improved to 7-0 on the road in interleague
play. They are 14-2 overall. ... Crawford stole two bases, pushing
his major league-leading total to 37. He also became just the
eighth player since 1900 to steal 100 bases before the age of 23.
... The Devil Rays lead the Citrus Series 3-1, but the Marlins are
21-14 all-time against their in-state rival. ... Tampa Bay improved
to 5-13 in Miami.