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A's make Monday game more likely

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- All eyes at Tropicana Field the past couple of days have been locked on the out-of-town scoreboards as fans and players try to figure out whether Tampa Bay will have to play a makeup game Monday night against Oakland.

That game originally was scheduled for Sept. 17 but canceled because of the threat of Hurricane Gordon. It will only be played if the outcome impacts the American League playoff picture, a prospect that seems to grow more realistic each day.

This is the only thing you have to worry about: If Oakland wins there is no game Monday. If Oakland loses and Seattle wins there will be a game Monday and the American League playoff picture is in limbo one more night.

There also will not be a game if Oakland, Seattle and Cleveland all lose today.

In the event that game is played, Rays officials have announced that all tickets from the Sept. 17 game will be honored and unused tickets from any Devil Rays game this season can be exchanged for an outfield or upper deck general admission seat at Monday's game.

In addition, outfield and upper deck general admission seats will be half price and children 14 and under get in free.

Gil Heredia will start for Oakland while Cory Lidle gets the starting nod for the Rays.

HALL MARK: In the three games -- a total of 24 innings -- catcher Toby Hall has started since being called up from Durham on Sept. 11, Rays pitchers have a combined ERA of 0.75.

GOLDEN RAYS: Before today's game, the Rays will honor their players who helped the U.S. baseball team capture the Olympic gold medal in Sydney last week.

Minor-leaguers Brent Abernathy, Matt White, Bobby Seay and Pat Borders, along with advance scout Bart Johnson, will be recognized in the pregame ceremony.

Tampa Bay also will honor Michelle Smith, a Treasure Island resident who was a member of the U.S. softball team that also won the gold medal.

BRING A BEAR: Devil Rays fans are asked to bring a new teddy bear to today's game as bay area radio station WWRM-FM 94.9 will collect them for the new "Trauma Teddies" program.

The bears will be given to children by Pinellas County Sheriff's Department personnel as a way to calm anxiety after traumatic events such as auto accidents or family crises.

The teddy bears can be dropped off at Gate 1 at Tropicana Field beginning at 11:30 a.m. Participants will receive a voucher for a ticket to any Rays game next season.

JUGADOR DEL ANO: As part of the Hispanic Heritage Day festivities at Tropicana Field on Saturday, pitcher Roberto Hernandez was named the Devil Rays Latin Player of the Year.

Hernandez, 4-6 with a 2.86 ERA and 32 saves, was presented the award by Ralph Paniagua, publisher of Latino Baseball Magazine; Emilio Coronado from Verizon; Ron Torre from Adelphia Cable and Marc Vila of YUPI.COM.

Hernandez didn't quite live up to that honor, blowing his second save in his last three outings and his eighth of the year to match his career high with seven losses.

LOOK OUT: The Rays lead the American League in hit batsmen with 66 this season after leading the league for the past two years. The last American League team to lead the league in hit batters three consecutive years was the Chicago White Sox from 1941-43.

RAYS BITS: Fred McGriff collected his 105th RBI, setting a Rays record. It broke his mark of 104 from last year. His career high is 107. ... Greg Vaughn returned to the lineup for the first time since last Saturday, going 1-for-3 with a double. ... Paul Wilson ran his scoreless inning streak to 14 with seven shutout innings, retiring 13 consecutive batters. ... Boston's Derek Lowe converted his 42nd save, tying for the American League lead. He has converted his last 23 save opportunities. ... Red Sox second baseman Mike Lansing was ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes.

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