Devil Rays 10, Orioles 7

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—No lead is safe against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Aubrey Huff homered, doubled and had four hits as the Devil Rays overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-7 Saturday night.

Rocco Baldelli, Rey Ordonez and Marlon Anderson had two RBIs for the Devil Rays, who have come back to win six times this season—all at home—after trailing by at least three runs.

“It’s weird,” Huff said. “Everybody is so young and hungry to win. Being around here the last three years, you get down in a situation like that the last couple years, it would be like dead in that dugout. This year it’s like, you’re down 5-0 in the second inning, anything is possible.”

Ordonez and Anderson are tied for the team lead with 18 RBIs.

“It’s been fun for me, personally, watching this team play,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “That’s been our posture all year. We’ve come from behind a lot. That tells a lot about the type of baseball this team is playing. It shows you, keep battling for 27 outs and you’ve got a chance.”

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove returned after missing the previous six games to be with his mother, who was hospitalized in Perryton, Texas, with an infected gallbladder. She underwent surgery twice in the past week.

Ordonez hit a two-run double during a four-run second inning that pulled the Devil Rays to 5-4.

He scored from third to tie it at 5 in the fourth when pitcher Rick Helling (1-2) was charged with an error for an errant pickoff attempt to first. Baldelli’s sacrifice fly and Huff’s solo homer, which snapped Tampa Bay’s six-game homerless stretch, made it 7-5.

“A big part of this team is, no matter what inning it is or how many runs we’re down, there’s never dead silence in the dugout where things seem pretty bleak,” Baldelli said.

Jeff Conine hit an RBI double during Baltimore’s two-run first. Jerry Hairston drove in a run with a double and Melvin Mora hit a two-run homer to extend the lead to 5-0 in the second.

Anderson’s fifth-inning RBI single put Tampa Bay up 8-5. He also had a run-scoring double in the second.

The Orioles got to 8-7 in the sixth when Tony Batista hit a solo shot and Brook Fordyce added a sacrifice fly.

Pinch-hitter Terry Shumpert added a sacrifice fly for the Devil Rays in the bottom half, and Baldelli had an RBI single in the eighth.

Reliever Victor Zambrano (1-2) entered with two outs in the sixth and allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. Lance Carter worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

“We scored five runs in the first two innings and then hit some balls right at people,” Hargrove said. “Then Zambrano came in and threw the ball very well.”

Baldelli has 37 hits, the third-most by a rookie in April since 1961. Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki had 39 in 2001 and Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra got 38 in 1997.

“I really don’t think about it enough to surprise myself,” Baldelli said. “Especially when things are working out and the team is playing well. I try not to mess with anything that seems to be working.”

Helling lasted just 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and 11 hits. The right-hander threw eight sharp innings in a 4-0 win over the Devil Rays last Monday.

“It was a combination of things,” Helling said. “I was pulling off the ball and I didn’t really make the adjustment. But give their hitters credit, they had pretty good at-bats.”

Tampa Bay’s Steve Parris allowed five runs and eight hits in four innings.He is 0-5 in his past nine starts dating to last season.


Baldelli has a hit in 22 of 23 games. … Batista’s homer was his third this season off Tampa Bay LHP Nick Bierbrodt. … Anderson has a career-high11-game hitting streak.

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