“We’re in the spoiler role, but we’re not really trying to mess with the standings,” Gomes said. “We’re just trying to win.”
The streaking Los Angeles Angels will try to fight off the Devil Rays and protect their lead in the AL West when the teams open a three-game series.
Gomes delivered a clutch two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning Wednesday to help Tampa Bay rally for a 7-4 victory and knock defending World Series champion Boston out of the AL East lead.
The Devil Rays took two of three from the Red Sox, and have won four of six overall as they try to finish yet another losing season on a high note.
The enthusiasm over Tampa Bay’s big win was tempered by reports that Piniella would not return to manage in 2006, instead accepting a buyout of the remaining year on his contract. Piniella and the Devil Rays declined to comment on the report, instead focusing on the task of finishing out the season.
“You look forward to the ballgame a little more, knowing that you can sidetrack somebody’s chances,” Piniella said.
The Angels made it six wins in a row with Thursday’s 7-4 victory over Texas.
Adam Kennedy singled in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded and Chone Figgins added a two-run single later in the sixth inning for Los Angeles, which extended its lead in the West to three games over Oakland with its 40th comeback win of the season.
Michael Young, the AL’s leading hitter, extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games, but Texas lost its third straight following a five-game winning streak.