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Double pleasure for Rays in win

Tampa Bay scores in double figures again, 11-4 over the White Sox.


© St. Petersburg Times, published August 22, 2000

CHICAGO -- After losing the first two games of the series to the American League leading White Sox, the Devil Rays had to be thinking they couldn't get out of town fast enough.

But after the last two days, Chicago seems like their kind of town.

The Rays staged an impressive exhibition of winning baseball Monday, pounding the White Sox 11-4 before an announced 31,744 at Comiskey Park and earning a split of the four-game set.

Coupled with Sunday's 12-11 win, the Rays reached double digits in back-to-back games for the second time in team history, and first since June 30-July 1, 1999, at Boston.

A lot went into Monday's win, including a strong seven innings from Tanyon Sturtze, who improved to 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts. Fred McGriff and Bobby Smith drove in three runs apiece, while Gerald Williams and Greg Vaughn each scored three.

But you know things are going right when you win in part because of Felix Martinez's power, Jose Guillen's eye and McGriff's speed.

Martinez hit a home run leading off a five-run Tampa Bay seventh, the second of his career. Guillen started a game-breaking fifth-inning rally with a walk, his first two-walk game since last September. And McGriff started a double-steal that resulted in Vaughn's theft of home later in the fifth.

The Rays seemed to start their offense up where they left off Sunday, taking a 6-1 lead in the inning.

They got one run in the first when Vaughn drew a two-out walk, McGriff drew another, and Smith blooped a single into rightfield. Vaughn scored easily, but McGriff didn't fare as well trying to get to third. With the throw going from right to home plate and back to third, he was still out easily.

Williams extended the lead to 2-0 with a one-out home run to left off Chicago starter Jim Parque. It was Williams' 20th of the season, and made him the 25th major-leaguer and 14th in the AL, to hit that many from the leadoff spot.

Bobby Bonds (with San Francisco in 1973) and Brady Anderson (with Baltimore in 1996) share the record with 35.

The Sox got a run off Sturtze in the fourth, but shortstop Martinez made a leaping play to limit the damage. Frank Thomas ripped a leadoff double and went to third on an infield out. Martinez made a stellar play to rob Paul Konerko of a line-drive hit. Carlos Lee drove in the run with a double, but Sturtze got out of the inning.

The Rays cracked the game open with a four-run fifth. After going 43 innings without scoring more than one run, they had three multiple-run innings in a span of 13.

Guillen started the rally with a walk, Jason Tyner executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, and Parque threw poorly on Martinez's tapper to the mound. The toss was wide of the bag, putting Rays on first and third with one out.

Williams singled in one run, and the Rays loaded the bases when Vaughn drew another two-out walk.

That brought up Fred McGriff with the bases loaded, and that usually means trouble. McGriff slapped a two-run single to left, making him 8-for-11 (.727) with 20 RBI in bases-loaded situations. Only the Yankees' Bernie Williams, at 9-for-11, has done better.

The Rays weren't done dazzling. McGriff, who had exactly one stolen base this season, took off for second. When Charles Johnson threw down, Vaughn broke for home and slid in safely as Durham bounced his throw. It was the Rays' second double steal of the season.

Guillen made a strong defensive play in the sixth. Magglio Ordonez was trying to go from first to third on Konerko's single, but Guillen threw a strike to nail him. Martinez, who hadn't driven in a run in 19 games and had just eight hits in his previous 76 at-bats, homered to open the seventh off reliever Kevin Beirne, the second his career.

And that was just the start of things as six straight Rays reached base. Williams and Russ Johnson singled, and Vaughn walked to again load the bases for McGriff. He walked as well, adding to his RBI total. Bobby Smith greeted reliever Mark Buehrle with a two-run single up the middle, and Guillen added a run-scoring double.

They sent 10 men to plate, the second time they batted around in a 15-inning span.

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