Tampa Bay, which plays 10 of its next 13 games away from Tropicana Field, earned a much needed 8-2 win over Oakland on Sunday to snap a six-game skid.
Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer for the Devil Rays, who broke out offensively after scoring just 40 runs in their last 15 games. Oakland ace Tim Hudson lost to Tampa Bay for the first time in eight career starts, allowing eight runs on nine hits in seven innings.
“It feels good to start swinging the bats again, especially to do it against a guy like that,” said Baldelli, who homered twice in the three-game series against the A’s. “He’s a great pitcher. It was a pretty good game for us, a pretty good confidence boost.”
Carl Crawford drove in a pair of runs Sunday, improving to 7-for-14 with four RBIs in the last three games. Mark Hendrickson allowed two runs on six hits through six solid innings to snap a stretch of 20 consecutive winless starts by Tampa Bay left-handers, dating to Joe Kennedy’s win against Toronto last May 13.
“We’re getting better … slowly,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We’re starting to wake up. It was a good win. Let’s hope we can build on it.
“Maybe we’ll go on this road trip, pitch well, swing the bats better and build a little momentum.”
The surging Rangers, with a major league-leading .640 winning percentage have won four straight and eight of nine. Texas is coming off a three-game sweep against AL East-leading Boston, extending its home winning streak to seven games.
The Rangers, who lead the majors with a .312 batting average, had two players go deep on Sunday. David Dellucci homered in his third start at center field—going 5-for-9 with a homer, a double and two runs scored in that span, and Alfonso Soriano hit his second of the season and 100th of his career.