Devil Rays 15, Rangers 4

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella talked about his fondness for three-run homers on his pregame radio show. His players must have been listening.

Aubrey Huff, Al Martin and Travis Lee each hit a three-run shot, leading the Devil Rays to a 15-4 rout of the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

“It’s really a pleasant thing to watch,” Piniella said.

The 15 runs equaled a team record and was the most ever at home for Tampa Bay, which is 8-8 in July. The Devil Rays were a franchise-worst 5-21 in June.

“We’re playing better,” Piniella said. “We’ve got some work still to do.”

Julio Lugo had four hits, and Jorge Sosa (3-7) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings.

The victory moved Piniella past Chuck Tanner into 24th place on the career list with 1,353 wins.

Huff, Rocco Baldelli and Martin homered during the Devil Rays’ seven-run fourth that made it 10-1.

“Lots of built up frustration,” Huff said. “Once you get a nice lead, you’re able to play a little more relaxed. I think it makes hitting easier when you relax.”

Huff hit a three-run shot off starter Tony Mounce (1-4). Ryan Drese replaced Mounce and allowed a solo homer to Baldelli. Martin ended Tampa Bay’s highest-scoring inning of the season with his three-run, pinch-hit homer against Drese.

“I hadn’t seen seven runs up on the board,” Piniella said. “I asked a couple of our players, is that a seven? It’s good to see it, it really is.”

Mounce allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. He has given up 20 runs in 15 2-3 innings over his past four starts.

Rangers manager Buck Showalter was asked if Mounce would keep his spot in the rotation.

“We’ll talk about it,” Showalter said. “Certainly the last three or four outings have been a struggle for him. With a lot of young pitchers, or inexperienced pitchers, things snowball good and bad.”

Lee made it 13-1 in the fifth with his three-run drive off Drese. It was just Lee’s second homer in his past 27 games.

Drese gave up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings.

Todd Greene hit a solo homer for the Rangers.

Toby Hall put the Devil Rays ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the second.

Greene tied it on a third-inning homer. The shot snapped a stretch in which the Rangers went 21 innings without a home run.

Baldelli had a run-scoring single during a two-run third that put Tampa Bay up 3-1.

The Devil Rays, however, left five runners on and went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the second and third innings.

Texas wasted an opportunity in the fourth.

Mark Teixeira extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a leadoff double. He was thrown out trying to steal third as the next batter, Shane Spencer, drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch.

Spencer was left stranded.

Teixeira had an RBI single in the sixth.

“Baseball is a weird game,” Teixeira said. “Stuff like that happens. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to put it behind you. We have a lot more games to go.”

Lugo drove in a run with his fourth single of the game in a two-run seventh that extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 15-2.

“Hitting is contagious,” Martin said. “It definitely is.”

Notes

Rangers RF Juan Gonzalez (strained right calf) missed the game. He will not accompany the team for a two-game series that begins Monday at Baltimore and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. … The Devil Rays scored 15 runs three times previously, the last June 4, 2000, at the New York Mets. … Tampa Bay has been outhomered 67-33 at home. … Baldelli’s homer was just his fourth extra-base hit this month. … Texas SS Alex Rodriguez snapped an 0-for-12 slide with a sixth-inning single. He has just three hits in his past 27at-bats. … The Devil Rays are 1-10 in day games at home.

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