ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Dewon Brazelton almost had his first
win in eight months slip away.
Brazelton snapped his seven-game losing streak and Carl Crawford
had a tiebreaking groundout in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' 3-2
victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night. Brazelton (1-3) allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
He struck out four and walked three in picking up his first win
since beating Oakland on Aug. 22, a span of 10 starts. "It feels good to get that whammy off my back," Brazelton
said. After Travis Harper pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, Danys Baez
came on for the ninth. He put runners on first and third with two
outs before getting pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. to line out hard
to center for his first save. "I barely caught it," Crawford said of his running catch.
"It's one of those things that could have got ugly if I missed it.
It had a little back spin. I was either going to miss it real good
or I was going to catch it right on the money." Crawford put the Devil Rays up 3-2 on a run-scoring grounder to
shortstop in the sixth. It was his team-leading 15th RBI. Mark Teixeira and Kevin Mench homered for the Rangers. Kenny
Rogers (0-2) gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings. He
struck out four. Rogers fell to 8-2 in 11 career starts against the
Devil Rays. Rangers manager Buck Showalter said Rogers rolled his ankle
fielding Nick Green's sacrifice bunt with no outs in the sixth.
Rogers took a warmup throw and remained in the game. "He gave us a chance to win," Showalter said. Tampa Bay scored twice in the second, aided by an error by
Rangers right fielder Richard Hidalgo. Jonny Gomes had a leadoff single. He scored when Hidalgo made an
errant throw trying to get him at third on Toby Hall's single. Hall
then scored on Green's single to make it 2-0. Texas had just one baserunner -- a second-inning walk to David
Dellucci -- before Teixeira hit a solo homer with two outs in the
fourth. The Rangers tied it at 2-all on Mench's leadoff homer in the
fifth. It was his second extra base hit of the season. The first
was a bases-loaded triple in Wednesday's 12-10 win over the Devil
Rays. Texas threatened to take the lead in the sixth, but Brazelton
struck out Hidalgo with two on and two outs. Hidalgo was hitless in
four at-bats -- including two strikeouts -- and is 6-for-50 over his
past 12 games. "He's not swinging the bat like he's going to," Showalter
said. Brazelton had allowed nine runs, 11 hits and 12 walks over 8 2/3
innings over his previous two starts. "Put one in the win column, it puts a little wind in your
sail," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. Rogers worked out of a bases loaded, two-out jam in the first by
inducing Jorge Cantu to fly out to right. The Devil Rays are just
1-for-8 with the bases loaded this season.
It was Baez's first save opportunity of the season, coming
in the Devil Rays' 16th game. "Let's hope over the next 16 we get
him a few more," Piniella said. ... Tampa Bay starting pitchers
worked just 44 innings with an ERA of 10.43 in the previous 10
games. ... Brazelton is 8-6 all-time at Tropicana Field. He is
winless in 12 road decisions. ... Rogers threw 31 of his 112
pitches in the first. ... Gomes was recalled from Triple-A Durham
before the game. To make room for Gomes, RHP John Webb was optioned
to Durham. ... Dellucci has walked 16 times -- including twice
Thursday -- in 12 games this season. ... Crawford, the defending AL
stolen base champion, has gone 11 games without stealing a base. It
equals the longest drought in his career. He has four stolen bases