ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—The dye was barely dry in Lou Piniella’s hair before Tampa Bay’s winning streak ended.
The last-place Devil Rays reverted to their losing ways Sunday, falling 11-3 to the Chicago White Sox just hours after Piniella kept a promise to change his hair if his young team won three in a row at any point this season.
“We just got whoomped up,” Piniella said.
“We talked about these things happening from time to time. … I’m talking about where we get roughed up. Nobody wants to see it, but it’s a matter of life as we’re constituted. It happens to other teams, too.”
Jose Valentin and Joe Crede homered and drove in three runs apiece to back the pitching of Mark Buehrle (7-10), who allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to win for the fifth straight time since stopping a nine-game losing streak on June 16.
The left-hander walked none and struck out one before being replaced by David Sanders at the start of the eighth.
“You’ve got to credit this offense,” Buehrle, a 19-game winner a year ago, said of his recent success. “They’ve turned it around in my last three starts. They’ve gone out and got four, five runs in the first couple innings. Being a starting pitcher, when you get run support, it’s a lot easier going out there.”
Despite losing the first two games of the Tampa Bay series, the White Sox have won seven of their last 10. Manager Jerry Manuel joked that it will take a lot more than a three-game winning streak for his team to get him to change his hair.
“They’ve got to give me 10. If they get 10, I’ll surprise them with something,” Manuel said. “I’ve got a 10-group in here. I don’t have a three-group.”
Valentin, whose younger brother Javier homered in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 win over Chicago on Saturday night, hit a three-run homer off reliever Carlos Reyes in the third inning. Both teams were warned when Reyes hit Valentin with a pitch leading off the seventh.
“Yesterday was his day. Today was our day,” Valentin said. “My family enjoyed it, getting to see both guys hit home runs in the same series. But it’s not about homers. It’s about winning. He got two out of three, so he got the best part of this series.”
Crede hit a two-run homer off Jason Standridge (0-4) in the second and had a RBI double in the fifth off Reyes. Magglio Ordonez hit a solo homer off Standridge in third, giving him four home runs in his last six games.
Carl Crawford drove in all three of Tampa Bay’s runs with RBI singles off Buehrle in the third, fifth and seventh innings.
Frank Thomas drove in Chicago’s first run with a sacrifice fly. Aaron Rowand, Sandy Alomar, Jr., and Carl Everett all had RBI singles for the White Sox, who finished with 15 hits—one shy of their season high.
Standridge, who’s still looking for his first major league win, allowedseven runs and eight hits in two-plus innings for the Devil Rays.
Everett and White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza were picked to the AL All-Star team. Closer Lance Carter will represent Tampa Bay. … The White Sox have 17 homers in their last six games. Thomas has 10 RBI’s during the same stretch, moving into a tie with Duke Snider for 72nd on the career list with 1,333. … Crede snapped an 0-for-9 skid with his two-run homer. … By beating the White Sox on Friday and Saturday, the Devil Rays won a series against Chicago for the first time since Tampa Bay’s inaugural season in 1998. They had gone 0-9-3 in the previous 12 series between the teams. … The Devil Rays went 6-7 on a season-long 13-game homestand against the Yankees, Braves, Red Sox andWhite Sox.