Devil Rays 6, Rangers 4

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Ben Grieve hurt his hometown team.

Grieve homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays over the Texas Rangers 6-4 Wednesday night.

“It’s always good when you have a big night like that,” Grieve said. “I got a couple good pitches to hit. I’m happy I did something with them.”

Grieve hit a solo shot in the second inning, his first homer at home since Sept. 22, and added a three-run drive in the fourth for a 4-3 lead. Grieve went 3-for-3 and had his fourth two-homer game, his first since April 12, 2002.

“We had a problem solving Grieve,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “That was the game.”

Grieve’s father, Tom, was the Rangers’ general manager from 1984-94. The elder Grieve is a Texas broadcaster and was at the game.

Jeremi Gonzalez (2-1) gave up four runs, two hits, four walks in five-plus innings and a hit a batter. He is just the second Devil Rays starter to win back-to-back starts this season.

Tampa Bay has only two wins in its past eight games.

Ruben Sierra hit a run-scoring double for Texas, which lost for the third time in 11 games.

Tampa Bay right fielder Aubrey Huff left after the first inning because of a bruised right knee and is day to day. Huff remained on the ground for a couple minutes after fouling a ball off the knee. He struck out two pitches later and was replaced by Jason Tyner.

“It’s still tough to bend,” Huff said. “At least it’s not broken. I thought it was. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

Huff has played in 164 consecutive games, the majors sixth longest active streak.

Huff has 10 homers in May, matching the team record for a month, set by Jose Canseco in April 1999.

Grieve and Huff have six of Tampa Bay’s last seven homers.

“We need somebody besides Huff to step up there and hit the ball out of the ballpark consistently,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said.

Sierra stopped an 0-for-12 slide with an RBI double during a three-run second that put the Rangers ahead 3-0. Mark Teixeira had a run-scoring grounder and Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly.

The Devil Rays limited Texas to eight runs in spilting the two-game series.

“That’s not too bad when you can do that to a good hitting Texas team,” Piniella said.

The Rangers’ top four hitters—Young, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Blalock and Carl Everett—were hitless in 29 at-bats during the two games.

“That’s certainly not the norm,” Showalter said. “You have to tip your hat to Tampa.”

Tampa Bay chased Rangers starter Alan Benes (0-3) when six straight batters reached with one out in the fourth on five hits and a walk. He allowed four runs, six hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings.

“I’ve thrown the ball real well at times, but haven’t been consistent enough,” Benes said. “The bottom line is I need to pitch better.”

R.A. Dickey replaced Benes and kept Texas within one run by retiring Rocco Baldelli and Tyner with the bases loaded.

Julio Lugo made it 5-3 with an RBI single in the fifth.

The teams traded runs in the sixth. Einar Diaz drove in a run with a single for Texas and Jared Sandberg hit a run-scoring single in the bottom half.

Lance Carter got three straight outs for his 10th save in 14 chances.


Grieve has 15 homers and 48 RBIs all-time against the Rangers, his most against any opponent. … Texas didn’t homer for the first time in nine games. The Rangers lead the major leagues with 85 homers. … Baldelli walked in the first, his ninth in 221 plate appearances. … Dickey has entered with the bases loaded three times and has allowed just one of nine inherited runners to score. … Tampa Bay 1B Travis Lee ended an 0-for-15 slide with a fourth-inning single. … Tampa Bay reliever Al Levine was unavailable because of a soreback.

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