Pirates 12, Devil Rays 9
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—The Pittsburgh Pirates ended one of their longest slumps of the season by getting clutch hits—and throwing some punches.
“Both teams have been struggling. Things got out of hand a little bit,” Anderson said. “If it’s something that can spark us to start playing better baseball, hopefully it’s something we can build on.”
Jack Wilson added four hits—three doubles—for Pittsburgh, which is off to its worst June start (2-9) in more than a century.
Pittsburgh had season highs for runs and hits (17) but nearly blew a nine-run lead. The Devil Rays scored six times in the ninth before Mike Williams got Carl Crawford, who had a sacrifice fly earlier in the inning, to hit a forceout to shortstop Wilson with the bases loaded to end it.
“I’m proud of our team for not laying down. It showed a lot of spunk to me,” said Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella, whose team has lost eight of nine. “We just fell short. You’d much rather see that than just an easy 1-2-3 inning and the ballgame being over.”
The fight began with two outs in the fourth, when Anderson started arguing with Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall as he walked up the first-base line. Anderson used his forearm to knock off Kendall’s mask, sparking both benches and bullpens to empty.
“Just kids having fun,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Tavarez admitted he threw some punches, but only after a Tampa Bay player he couldn’t identify began choking him from behind.
The Devil Rays weren’t buying his explanation.
“You look at the film and I think everything would have quieted down, but Tavarez came out of the bullpen and started throwing some right hands,” Piniella said. “And that got it going again.”
Said Martin: “The thing’s over and Tavarez, out of nowhere, threw a punch at (starting pitcher) Rob Bell.”
Fogg (3-3) successfully maintained his composure through both the offensive outburst and the fight. Before faltering in the final inning—during which thunder boomed outside the domed stadium—he had given up three runs and eight hits.
“It was an exciting game, to say the least,” said Fogg, who allowed seven runs and 12 hits in 8 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
Sauerbeck gave up two runs on two hits and two walks while getting just one out. Williams finished for his 17th save.
Bell (0-1) was roughed up for six runs on four hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings. He was the Devil Rays’ 12th starter of the season, the most used by any team this year and one short of the franchise record set in 1999.
Pittsburgh jumped ahead 3-0 in the third when Ramirez hit a bases-loaded double.
Kendall singled with two outs and Wilson followed with a ground-rule double misjudged by center fielder Crawford. Brian Giles was intentionally walked, and Ramirez foiled that tactic with a drive to left-center.
Ramirez led off the seventh inning with a home run, his fourth of the year.
The Pirates lost seven straight May 3-9 … Pittsburgh began June with a 1-9 skid in 1897. …. Tampa Bay OF Rocco Baldelli did not start after fouling a ball off his left knee. He walked in the ninth as a pinch-hitter. … Also sitting was Pittsburgh OF Kenny Lofton. He was hit in the left foot by a pitch Friday, three days after fouling a ball off his left big toe. … Injured Tampa Bay RHP Seth McClung, on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained elbow, threw in the bullpen for the second straight day. Trainer Ken Crenshaw said McClung reported some stiffness, as he did Friday. … Amanda Carter, wife ofTampa Bay RHP Lance Carter, sang the National Anthem.