Devil Rays 4, White Sox 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—When Carl Crawford homers, he makes it count.
Crawford’s first homer since opening day, a three-run drive with one out in the ninth inning, gave the Devil Rays a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night and consecutive wins for the first time in seven weeks.
“I didn’t think it was going out. I was saying: `Go ball go,’ the whole time,” Crawford said.
Crawford also hit a three-run homer in the ninth to beat Boston on March 31.
“I thought it might be my last one,” he said. “I didn’t know when the next one was coming, but I’ll take it.”
Jesus Colome (2-4) pitched one inning and won despite giving up a solo homer to Brian Daubach in the top of the ninth. Roberto Alomar drove in Chicago’s other two runs for his first RBIs with the White Sox.
Tampa Bay won consecutive games for the first time since May 15-16. Chicago, which had won six of its previous seven, came within two outs of climbing over .500 for the first time since May 2.
The Devil Rays will try to win three in a row for the first time all year on Saturday. Manager Lou Piniella has promised to dye his hair if the last-place team wins three straight at any point in the season.
“It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten it,” Piniella said when reminded of the vow. “But if they go out and win tomorrow, they’ll get it.”
White Sox starter Bartolo Colon allowed one run and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, departing with a 2-1 lead. Koch, who struck out Jason Tyner to begin the ninth, blew a save for the fourth time in 15 chances.
“It’s a tough loss. Any time you lose with a three-run homer against your closer, that’s a tough loss. There’s no doubt about it,” said Chicago manager Jerry Manuel, adding that Koch’s performance has him considering other options for the closer role.
“It’s not a clear-cut thing at this time. … We’ll see what we can do to straighten him out,” Manuel said.
Alomar, playing his second game since being obtained from the New York Mets for three prospects, went 2-for-3 and drove in Chicago’s first two runs with a two-out, bases-loaded single off Victor Zambrano in the second. He is 3-for-8 since joining the White Sox on Wednesday.
Colon was lifted after singles by the next two batters, Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. Reliever Damaso Marte struck out Huff to get out of the inning. Marte pitched a perfect eighth before turning the game over to Koch.
Both of Chicago’s runs off Zambrano were unearned, and he allowed four hits in eight innings.
Huff singled off Colon with two outs in the first and doubled with one out in the fourth. Javier Valentin and Lugo singled for Tampa Bay with two outs in the fifth, but Colon fanned Crawford.
Alomar lined a single to right to drive in Everett and Daubach for a 2-0 lead. His pair of singles were the only hits off Zambrano until Jose Valentin singled with two outs in the fifth.
Tampa Bay won in dramatic fashion for the second straight game. Martin hit a two-run homer in the eighth, and Marlon Anderson’s RBI single in the 10th gave the Devil Rays a 6-5 victory over Boston on Thursday night.
“We don’t draw it up like that, it just happens,” Crawford said. “We just try to play hard and keep it close as long as we can. If we keep it close, wefeel we can come back.”
Daubach homered for the third straight game. … Zambrano had four of Tampa Bay’s five wins in June, allowing 11 earned runs and 23 hits in 42 innings. … Chicago’s Frank Thomas walked in the third inning, moving ahead of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey for 26th on the career list with 1,346. … Devil Rays LHP Joe Kennedy (left shoulder inflammation) made a rehab start for Triple-A Durham Friday night. He allowed one run and six hits in 6 1-3 inningsagainst Richmond.