Rays win again, clinch Disney series
Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford
RaysDigest.com
Posted May 17, 2007


A night after squandering numerous opportunities and stranding 14 runners in a 4-3, 10-inning win over the struggling Rangers, Tampa Bay got timely hitting throughout the lineup to position themselves for a sweep of the three-game series the Devil Rays moved to Disney to increase their exposure in the Orlando area.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay delivered one key hit after another until Carl Crawford finished off the Texas Rangers.

Crawford tripled with the bases loaded and Delmon Young also drove in three runs Wednesday night to pace an 11-8 victory at Disney World, which is turning out to be a nice home away from home for the Devil Rays.

A night after squandering numerous opportunities and stranding 14 runners in a 4-3, 10-inning win over the struggling Rangers, Tampa Bay got timely hitting throughout the lineup to position themselves for a sweep of the three-game series the Devil Rays moved to Disney to increase their exposure in the Orlando area.

"It would be nice if we can do it because a lot of people were thinking we might not do well with the home away from home thing," Crawford said.

Sammy Sosa moved closer to becoming the fifth player with 600 career homers, hitting No. 597 in the fourth inning for the Rangers, who led 6-4 before Tampa Bay scored six runs in the fifth -- the last three on Crawford's third triple of the season.

Sosa's two-run, opposite-field shot off left-hander Casey Fossum (3-3) was his ninth homer of the year and extended his major league record for most ballparks homered in to 45. Victor Diaz and Mark Teixeira also homered off the Devil Rays starter, who allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings.

"I never surprise myself," Sosa said, shrugging off a question about the success he's had this season to put himself on the verge of joining Henry Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays as the only players with at least 600 homers.

"I work hard, go out there in the [batting] cage every day trying to figure out a plan that I've got to take to the plate. ... I'm a fighter. I'm going to go out there and try to do the best that I can."

The middle game of the series drew a crowd of 8,839. That was slightly more than 8,443 for the opener and well above the 8,241 the teams averaged for six dates last season at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Al Reyes pitched ninth for the Devil Rays, picking up his 12th save in 12 opportunities.

The loss was the seventh in nine games for the Rangers. Vicente Padilla (1-6) gave up a first-pitch, leadoff homer to Elijah Dukes and was roughed up for eight runs and 12 hits in four-plus innings.

The speedy Crawford's triple to right-center off A.J. Murray made it 10-6. He's now 2-for-2 with a walk and eight RBIs with the bases loaded this season, including his first career grand slam.

Young had a two-run single off Padilla in the fourth and finished the Rangers' starter with a RBI single in the fifth. B.J. Upton drove in a run in the fourth on a force play, then drew a bases-loaded walk from Murray in the fifth.

"We just couldn't get it done on the mound," Texas manager Ron Washington said.

The Devil Rays have won three straight following a season-high six-game skid. It's their longest winning streak since winning three in a row Aug. 21-23.

Game notes

NASCAR great Richard Petty threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Texas OF Brad Wilkerson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled right hamstring. He was injured running out a double on Wednesday night. To replace him, the Rangers purchased the contract of Kevin Mahar from Triple-A Oklahoma. Mahar started in center field and went 0-for-4. ... Devil Rays CF Rocco Baldelli strained his left hamstring Tuesday night and will undergo a MRI Thursday and likely go on the DL. ... Rangers 2B Jerry Hairston (shoulder) and RF Victor Diaz (hand) left the game with injuries. ... Washington strained his left hamstring when he ran out of the dugout to protest a call at second base in the seventh inning. "I'm not going on the DL. I was hoping nobody saw that," he said. "It was just a twinge."


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