Reds 4, Devil Rays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Jose Guillen had plenty of reasons to smile.
There was his home run, a perfect throw to the plate to prevent the tying run from scoring, and the added satisfaction Tuesday night of playing a major role in the Cincinnati Reds’ 4-2 victory over his former team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“It’s very hard to come here and not play angry. They released me. This was just a sign of letting them know something,” said Guillen, who played parts of three seasons in Tampa Bay before being let go in November 2001.
“There’s a little bit of hard feelings, but we’ve still got two more games to go so I’ve got to come tomorrow and do the same thing again.”
Guillen, facing his ex-teammates for the first time, snapped a 2-2 tie with his 11th homer on the first pitch of the sixth inning. The strong-armed right fielder preserved the one-run lead in the seventh when he threw out a runner trying to score on Travis Lee’s single.
“That was a situation with two outs where you had to send the runner,” Guillen said. “I had to make the perfect throw. I made the perfect throw.”
Right-hander Paul Wilson (4-4) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings to get the win. Scott Williamson pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities, retiring pinch-hitter Al Martin on a routine fly with the bases loaded to end it.
Tampa Bay has lost five straight.
Austin Kearns and Aaron Boone also homered for the Reds, hitting two-out solo shots off Jason Standridge (0-1) in a span of three pitches to wipe out a 2-0 lead Tampa Bay took on Toby Hall’s two-run double.
The homers were the first hits off Standridge, a rookie making his second major league start.
Guillen homered to center field to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. His perfect throw to the plate in the seventh prevented Aubrey Huff from scoring the tying run.
“That was huge. We’ve thrown a lot of guys out at the plate,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “Jose’s got one of the best arms, not only in baseball but probably for all-time. He put it right on the money.”
The Reds added a run in the eighth off Travis Harper when Boone drew a bases-loaded walk.
Wilson’s outing followed a familiar pattern. He began the night with a 10.50 ERA in the first inning and fell behind in the first again, giving up a double to Rocco Baldelli and walk to Ben Grieve before Hall delivered his two-run double.
The right-hander worked out of jams with the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth with help from catcher Jason LaRue, who picked Lee off third base with one out in the fourth and the score tied at 2.
Devil Rays third base coach Tom Foley argued that Boone, Cincinnati’s third baseman, didn’t get the tag on Lee in time and was ejected. Wilson avoided further damage when Carl Crawford struck out to end the inning.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the fifth with a walk and a pair of two-out singles. Wilson escaped again when Lee grounded to second.
“Boy, we should have scored more than two runs with the opportunities we had,” said Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella, whose team stranded 14 runners and has been outhomered 39-16 at home this season.
“We had chances right up until the last out. We had other chances, too, but we didn’t get it done.”
Standridge, recalled from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day, allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out four and walkednone before being replaced by Harper.
Standridge is the 11th pitcher to start a game for the Devil Rays this season, matching their total from last year and tied with Arizona and San Diego for the most in the majors. The club record is 13 in 1999. … Baldelli has 81 hits, the second-most by a rookie through June 10 in the last 42 years behind Ichiro Suzuki’s 99 in 2001. … Wilson made his 100th career start. He made 61 of them with the Devil Rays from 2000-2002. … Kearns homered for the first time since May 14. … After Foley’s ejection, Devil Rays 1B coach Billy Hatcher moved to third and reserve infielder Terry Shumpert took over at first for the remainder of the fourth. Bench coach John McLaren filled in the rest ofthe game.