CLEVELAND (AP)—Carl Crawford was elated just to hit a simple ground ball.
“I’m just glad to get that one,” Crawford said of his one-out bouncer up the middle through a drawn-in infield.
The hit broke a 4-4 tie against Terry Mulholland (3-3).
“I wanted that one bad,” Crawford said. “I hit it just hard enough. We didn’t want to lose three games here.”
The Devil Rays earned a split of the four-game series at Jacobs Field with their seventh win in nine games and improved to 13-7 since July 29.
“It could have been 4-0 either way, every game was so close,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We haven’t had many easy games all season.
“But we got three runs in the 14th or 13th—heck, I don’t even know what inning it was.”
Julio Lugo followed Crawford with a sacrifice fly for the game’s final run. Lugo had three hits, three RBIs and his second career multihomer game—he hit two solo shots into the left-field bleachers.
Lugo put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 in the first inning, then tied the score at 3 leading off the eighth with his seventh homer of the season.
“I just got lucky, but I’ll take it any day,” Lugo said.
Lance Carter (7-3) allowed one run in 3 2-3 innings as Tampa Bay handed the Indians just their fourth loss in 14 games.
The Devil Rays went ahead 4-3 in the 11th when Toby Hall doubled to left with two outs and came around to score on two infield hits.
“We battled tonight, but all these extra-inning games can be draining both physically and mentally,” Gerut said. “Every close game, you wonder if it will go extras. Will it be longer than the last one?”
Cleveland has played an AL-leading 17 extra-inning games, including four in 10 days.
Coco Crisp drove in two runs for Cleveland. He tied the score at 1 in the first by hitting his third homer, then put the Indians ahead in the seventh with an RBI double.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 in the sixth as Lugo singled and eventually scored on Travis Lee’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Jack Cressend replaced Indians starter Billy Traber and the Devil Rays ran themselves out of the rally on a failed double steal. Cressend struck out Damian Rolls as Lee took off for second. Catcher Josh Bard threw toward second, where second baseman Angel Santos stepped in front of the bag and threw back to the plate. Bard tagged out Rocco Baldelli, who was trying to come home from third, to end the inning.
“We were on guard for that one,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We were looking for a possible squeeze bunt, too, in the 13th. They have a lot of speed and that certainly played into the game.”
Devil Rays starter Rob Bell remained unbeaten and got his sixth no-decision in nine starts since June 25. He allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out two without issuing a walk.
Traber allowed two runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings. The left-handerstruck out three and walked one.
Crawford stole second in the 13th for his 18th consecutive steal, a Devil Rays record. … The Indians activated OF Matt Lawton, who singled in his first at-bat since going on the DL July 12 with a dislocated finger on his right hand. He went 1-for-6. … Bard left in the seventh with a blister on his left foot. … Lugo’s first multihomer game was June 16, 2002, for Houston. … Traber, a rookie, is 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA at Jacobs Field, but just 0-4 with a 7.64 ERA on the road. … Huff went 0-for-5, snapping his 13-game hittingstreak.