Devil Rays 9, Athletics 3

Preview | Box Score | Recap

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Lou Piniella leaned back in his office chair and made an observation.

“My first win as a blond,” the Tampa Bay manager said with a smile.

Two days after he dyed his hair to honor the Devil Rays’ first three-game winning streak, Piniella’s team made him proud again. Travis Lee had three hits and three RBIs, and Ben Grieve doubled and drove in two runs as the Devil Rays snapped a five-game losing streak against Oakland with a 9-3 win over the Athletics on Tuesday night.

Do blonds really have the most fun?

“It was a 9-3 win!” he said.

Barry Zito, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, gave up a career-high 15 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He also matched a career high with seven runs allowed.

“If you’d have told me we’d get 15 hits off Zito in five or six innings, I would have looked at you a little funny,” Piniella said.

The left-hander has been tagged for 35 hits in his last three starts, which include a win, a loss and a no-decision.

“Of course it looks worse when you get hit by a team that’s not Seattle or the Yankees, but when you’re not on your game there’s very little leeway, even against a team below .500,” Zito said.

An 8-year-old boy watching the game suffered burns on one of his legs when a fan tossed an explosive device from the upper deck of the Coliseum. The boy was taken to a hospital for treatment. No further information on his condition was immediately available.

A suspect was in police custody after the incident in the bottom of the third inning, the A’s said. The device, commonly known as a cherry bomb, made a loud boom as it fell from the third deck to the first tier of bleachers in left field. Players turned to look, causing a short delay.

“I thought a bomb went off it was so loud,” Tampa Bay center fielder Rocco Baldelli said. “It was shaking.”

Rob Bell (1-2) won in his fifth start since being called up from Triple-A Durham on June 14—and the early run support helped. It was his first win since last July 31, when he beat the Yankees.

Bell, who pitched well against Boston’s Pedro Martinez in his last start, allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, striking out three and walking three. The Devil Rays are going to activate left-hander Joe Kennedy to start Wednesday—his first start since May 31. Kennedy, the team’s opening day starter, has been on the 15-day disabled list for more than a month because of left shoulder inflammation.

Tampa Bay will send down a pitcher, and Bell hopes he showed management enough to save his spot.

“I think I’m a guy who can get better with every single start,” he said. “That’s my judgment and hopefully (Piniella’s), too.”

Erubiel Durazo homered, doubled and scored twice for the A’s, who have lost three of four. Terrence Long drove in a run with his fourth-inning single, and Ramon Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly.

The Devil Rays matched a season high with 19 hits to end an eight-game losing streak in the Coliseum, where they last won May 29, 2001. They had lost 12 of their last 13 games to the A’s before the offensive onslaught, which also featured three hits by Antonio Perez. Five others had two hits and every Tampa Bay starter had at least one.

The Devil Rays’ 17 singles were a club record.

The A’s three starters for this series—Zito, Ted Lilly and Mark Mulder— had never lost to Tampa Bay, going a combined 11-0.

Zito (8-6) came in 4-0 with an 0.90 ERA in four career starts against the Devil Rays, but struggled almost immediately. He gave up a hit to Perez, the second batter of the game, and things went downhill from there. He threw 111 pitches, 70 strikes.

The Devil Rays scored three runs on five straight hits in the second to give Bell a nice cushion. Bell retired the first seven A’s hitters before allowing adouble to Mark Ellis.


Before the game, the A’s placed OF Jermaine Dye on the 15-day disabled list with a separated right shoulder. The move is retroactive to July 7. To fill Dye’s roster spot, the A’s purchased the contract of OF/1B David McCarty from Triple-A Sacramento. Oakland also designated right-hander Bert Snow for assignment to make room for McCarty on the 40-man roster. … The Rays’ 13-36 record against the A’s is the club’s worst against any AL opponent. The Rays last won a season series against Oakland in 1998, 6-5. … Bell is undefeatedin six career starts against Oakland.

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