St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum

printer version

Bats, pen give hope for tough stretch

RAYS 7, RANGERS 5: Tired relief staff pitches five shutout innings in first series win since June.

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2002

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Major-league rosters can expand to 40 players for the remainder of the season.

In Tampa Bay's case, however, the players who beat the Rangers 7-5 Saturday night before 30,757 at the Ballpark in Arlington to avoid their 90th loss of the season likely will be around at the end of a potentially trying final month.

Seventeen of the Rays' remaining 27 games are against the Angels, who lead the wild-card standings; the Yankees, who are on their way to winning the American League East; and the Red Sox, who are trying to keep pace in the wild-card race.

The Rays are a combined 5-25 against those clubs this season.

"But I think we're young enough to keep things going," manager Hal McRae said. "We've still got guys trying to establish themselves. Everybody is still kind of trying to make their mark."

Things might not be that bad this month if Tampa Bay's bullpen and offense can continue to perform as they have the past two nights against an underachieving Rangers team.

Rays relievers have allowed one run in their past 10 2/3 innings and are 2-0 with two saves against Texas this series. The offense has produced 16 runs on 29 hits.

"It's encouraging. It's nice to see," McRae said. "The guys are still giving a good effort to try and finish strong."

Reliever Lee Gardner got his first major-league win after centerfielder Randy Winn scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the eighth, giving the Rays a 6-5 lead, and catcher Toby Hall followed with a run-scoring single.

"Right now I don't think it's hit home," said Gardner, who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth. "You always think growing up that you're going to get one and you're going to be there in a situation to get one.

"Tonight I snuck in and it could've easily gone the other way. The guys did a great job at the plate tonight. My job isn't to go out and get wins, it's to get them back in the dugout and give them a chance to win it."

The Rays' first series win since June 28-30 gave them 11 victories in August, more than any month this season.

"We haven't won that many, but the guys play hard each night," McRae said. "They give us a chance to win, but they just haven't been consistent enough to win games."

McRae appeared limited with what he could do with his relievers after Brandon Backe was optioned to Triple-A Durham earlier in the day.

Lance Carter, called up to replace Backe, was unavailable because he pitched for Durham on Wednesday.

So with a bullpen that logged 5 2/3 innings the night before, McRae had to leave starter Travis Harper out longer than he probably wanted to.

The Rangers took a 5-2 lead and had two on and nobody out in the fifth before Harper was relieved in favor of Travis Phelps, who pitched 1 2/3 innings Friday.

Harper is 2-2 with a 5.68 ERA in 25 1/3 innings as a starter this season.

Phelps and Gardner each pitched two scoreless innings. Esteban Yan, who appears to have won back his job as closer, got his second save in as many nights.

The Rays improved to 7-17 against left-handed starters this season.

Texas left=hander Kenny Rogers held Tampa Bay to two hits through a breezy four innings before allowing two runs in the fifth.

Rookie leftfielder Carl Crawford led off the inning with a walk, his fourth since being called up from Triple A on July 20, and scored on a single by Winn. Second baseman Andy Sheets made it 3-2 when he scored on a double play.

The Rays scored one in the sixth to make it 5-3 and tied it with a run-scoring double by Jared Sandberg and run-scoring single by rightfielder Ben Grieve.

The eighth-inning rally began with two outs when Winn and Aubrey Huff, who broke the club record for hits in a month, singled off Rangers reliever Danny Kolb.

Huff finished with 44 hits in August, topping Winn's 42 in June.

Back to the Rays
Today's lineup

  • Bats, pen give hope for tough stretch
  • Taste kept pitcher striving
  • Uptons put onus on Rays
  • Tired arm to force Wilson to skip start
  • Grateful team praises Flaherty's hard work

  • Bucs
  • Walker: left, right, bench?
  • Brad Johnson thinks everything is in place
  • Cuts come with many on bubble

  • Other sports

    College football
  • Taylor-made victory
  • 'Baby steps' for FSU
  • Olympian has immediate impact
  • Tide forced to work for win
  • Herd receiver makes amends
  • A walkon's FG saves Michigan
  • Graham is getting it in gear
  • Dad there for Zook era's start
  • 'Canes opener: It's no sweat
  • Young Miami pair dazzle in opener
  • UM ends need right 'attitude'
  • Pitt opens strong, but sputters late
  • Interceptions give boost to Washington St.
  • CSU surprises rival Colorado
  • Duke tops ECU, ends losing streak at 23
  • Penn State finally gets it cranked up against Knights
  • Jones bails out FSU offense
  • Passing closes up for Rix

  • U.S. Open Tennis
  • Hewitt again outlasts Blake in five
  • German faces charges of stalking top seed

  • Baseball
  • Steinbrenner stewing, silently
  • Ex-union chief feels vindication
  • Giants beat 2nd D'backs ace
  • A's pull out 17th straight win

  • NFL
  • Carr's bruised knee okay
  • Southern Fryed
  • Culpepper puts past behind him

  • Soccer
  • Real Madrid gets Brazil's Ronaldo

  • Golf
  • Sauers' 66 sends him to top

  • WNBA
  • Los Angeles holds off N.Y. for title

  • Softball
  • U.S. starts 3-0 in Japan Cup softball

  • Motorsports
  • Darlington is planning to shine new light on its tough corners
  • Schumacher has two records within his reach
  • Burton wins rain-shortened BGN race
  • Turn 2 takes its toll on drivers

  • Et cetera
  • More than luck, beer needed in this draft

  • Letters
  • Bucs made mistake in cutting Wunsch
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111

     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week