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Angels pound Rays in 7th

And it costs them the game, as the Angels score five to give Tampa Bay an 11th loss in 13 games, 7-2.

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published May 9, 2004

ANAHEIM, Calif. - This is how bad things are going for the Devil Rays.

Paul Abbott gave them a strong start Saturday night. Despite only two hits, they were tied with the Angels in the seventh inning.

Then Aubrey Huff threw one bad ball, and Trever Miller threw one very bad pitch.

The result was a frustrating 7-2 defeat, the 11th loss in 13 games.

"We've just go to keep working," manager Lou Piniella said.

The score was tied at 2 into the seventh when the Angels took advantage of Huff's throwing error and took charge.

A one-out single and an errant throw by Huff trying to catch speedy Brandon High product Chone Figgins put Angels on first and third. With most of the sellout crowd of 43,465 waving white souvenir Vladimir Guerrero T-shirts, the Angels slugger doubled in the go-ahead run on Abbott's final pitch.

The Rays brought in Chad Gaudin to intentionally walk Troy Glaus to load the bases, and he caught Jose Guillen looking at strike three. Piniella then went to lefty Miller, and the Angels pinch-hit for Jeff DaVanon with Shane Halter, who hadn't hit a homer since Sept.25.

Halter took one ball, then knocked the next pitch, a sinker that was down but not away, out in left-centerfield to make it 7-2.

"It's tough," Miller said. "Loss after loss, you'd like to be the guy who picks the club up and gets us going, but that's not the case right now."

Miller is supposed to be the Rays' late-inning lefthanded specialist, but he isn't getting it done.

It was the second Saturday night in a row that Miller came into a close game and gave up a grand slam after serving one up to Oakland's Erubiel Durazo on May1 at Tropicana Field. He also took a loss April25 at Chicago when he walked two and gave up a ninth-inning single to Kelly Dransfeldt.

"I've tried to used him in those type situations, I've tried," Piniella said. "And we've gotten him some pretty good matchups too."

The night was not all bad.

The Rays did see some positive results from some slight adjustments struggling Huff and Jose Cruz made to their batting stances.

Huff, who came into the game hitting .186, pulled a ground-rule double to right in his first at-bat, only his second two-base hit of the season, and drove a sacrifice fly to the centerfield wall in the sixth.

Cruz, who was 0-9 after earlier this season having a 0-for-37 streak, homered to right in his first at-bat, though he grounded out in his next three at-bats.

Abbott was coming off what was the worst start of his career, having allowed seven runs in the first inning Monday. He should have felt even better after a solid outing Saturday in front of dozens of friends and relatives, allowing two earned runs over 61/3 innings.

The game featured an exchange of hit batters and a heated argument from Rays manager Lou Piniella. Abbott hit Guerrero in the third, and Bartolo Colon, who improved to 7-0 against the Rays, immediately retaliated by hitting Tino Martinez with his first pitch in the fourth. Piniella argued that Colon should be ejected, but the umpires only issued a warning.

[Last modified May 9, 2004, 01:41:11]

Today's lineup
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  • Got a minute? Doug Waechter
  • Angels pound Rays in 7th
  • Minor-leaguers might get their chance soon

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