Pirates 9, Devil Rays 5

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Now that the Pirates got it right on the road, they’d like to win a few in Pittsburgh.

Jason Kendall hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning and Jack Wilson hit two more doubles as Pittsburgh rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-5 Sunday for their second straight win.

A day after four players, including Kendall, were ejected for their involvement in a bench-clearing brawl, there were no problems.

“It was just a hit. It came at a good time,” said Kendall, denying that payback for his part in the brawl was on his mind. “We needed that win.”

Pirates catcher Kendall got into a shoving match with Marlon Anderson after Anderson was hit by a pitch, touching off the melee.

Matt Stairs had a season-high three hits, with two doubles for the Pirates, who ended a rough road swing that saw them drop six of eight games.

“That’s the most important thing—going back home with a positive,” said Wilson, whose seventh-inning two-run double tied the game at 5. He also capped Pittsburgh’s four-run eighth with a run-scoring double.

“Maybe since we’ve played well on the road, we can play good at home now.”

The Pirates are just 9-21 at home this season.

Wilson’s hitting played a big part in the Pirates’ first consecutive wins since May 30-31 against St. Louis. Over the weekend, he batted 7-for-11 with five doubles and six RBIs.

“It just kind of clicked this series,” said Wilson, who raised his batting average 20 points to .251.

Added Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon: “He’s very professional about his approach at the plate.

Scott Sauerbeck (1-4) pitched 2 2-3 innings for the win. Mike Williams entered with runners on first and second and hit Toby Hall with a pitch before getting Anderson to ground out to second to end it for his 18th save.

Pittsburgh got some help from Tampa Bay in winning only its second game in 29 tries when trailing after six innings.

Randall Simon reached when second baseman Anderson misplayed his grounder for an error to lead off the eighth, and Stairs and Reggie Sanders followed with singles to load the bases with none out.

Tampa Bay reliever Al Levine (2-4) then coaxed two popups, but Kendall singled down the right-field line, and Sanders scored when Aubrey Huff overran the ball for a two-base error. Wilson followed with a double down the left-field line

“It was a rough one,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We gave them the ballgame. Just gave it to them.”

The Pirates, down four runs after four innings, rallied to tie it with three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Pittsburgh closed to 4-3 in the sixth on Aramis Ramirez’s two-run double and Stairs’ RBI double. Ramirez has six RBIs in his last two games.

In the seventh, Wilson tied the score at 5 with a two-run double off reliever Jesus Colume.

Tampa Bay went ahead with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by consecutive home runs from Huff and Travis Lee. It was the first time this year the Devil Rays had hit back-to-back homers, but the third time in six games the Pirates had given up the same.

The other runs came on Kendall’s throwing error and Julio Lugo’s RBI single.

Tampa Bay went ahead 5-3 in the sixth on Ben Grieve’s RBI single to scoreLugo.

Notes

: Stairs left after the eighth inning with an irritation in his left Achilles’ heel … Pirates CF Kenny Lofton, who was hit in the left foot by a pitch ball Friday, was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game. He is listed as day to day. … Devil Rays RHP Seth McClung, on the 60-day injured list with an elbow strain, isn’t responding to treatment and surgery appears likely. “It doesn’t look very encouraging,” Piniella said. If there was surgery, McClung probably wouldn’t return until the end of 2004 springtraining.

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