Williams took a three-hitter into the eighth inning against the Devil Rays on Tuesday night, flourishing long after Piniella asked the umpires to make the right-hander remove a necklace he was wearing at the start of the Giants’ 7-3 victory.
“It’s not going to discourage me at all. I will get fired up, but I will not show that on the mound,” said Williams, who ripped off the jewelry and tossed it all the way to the dugout with two outs in the second inning. “That was a pretty good chuck, too. After that happened, I just wanted to go out there and throw, and that’s what I did.”
Michael Tucker hit a two-run homer in support of Williams (5-4), who had lost of three of four decisions in his previous seven starts.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-2 with two walks in his first visit to Tropicana Field. He drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh, then added a RBI single in the ninth.
The game drew 13,275—well below the 35,083 the Giants have averaged on the road in the NL. Fans booed when reliever Trever Miller’s only pitch struck the San Francisco star in the upper arm.
Williams allowed one run and four hits in seven-plus innings, leaving after hitting a batter and giving up a single to Rey Sanchez beginning the eighth. The Devil Rays scored when Aubrey Huff grounded into a force play with the bases loaded against Jason Christiansen, and Toby Hall added a two-run homer in the ninth off Jim Brower.
Williams also gave up a two-out double to Sanchez in the third, Huff’s one-out single in the fourth and Jose Cruz, Jr.’s two-out single in the sixth.
Piniella said all he was doing when he questioned the umpires about the San Francisco starter’s necklace was making sure the rule book was enforced.
“It says no costume jewelry,” the manager said.
San Francisco manager Felipe Alou wasn’t surprised by the way Williams responded.
“It’s not the first time,” Alou said. “What I’m seeing is that every time that happens, the kid turns it up a notch. … But that’s not what makes him a tough guy. He had a good sinker tonight, good breaking ball, good changeup.”
The Giants won for the fourth time in five games and improved to a major league-best 15-5 since May 18.
The Devil Rays took up where they left off in interleague play a year ago when they went 3-15—the most interleague losses by one team in one season.
Tucker hit his sixth homer in the second off Doug Waechter (3-6), who yielded four runs and four hits before leaving before the start of the third inning because of tendinitis in his right middle finger.
A couple of mental errors helped the Giants score twice in the first inning.
When the next batter, Bonds, drew a walk, Grissom was credited with a stolen base when he trotted to second and continued on to third where no one was covering the bag because the Devil Rays had shifted the infield to the right. Grissom scored on Edgardo Alfonzo’s infield hit.
“I think we were watching Bonds and forgot to play in the first inning,” Piniella said.
“That was a disaster,” Hall agreed.
Dewon Brazelton relieved Waechter and kept the score from getting out of hand by retiring his first 10 batters.
San Francisco loaded the bases in the seventh on an error, a walk and Grissom’s single. Miller replaced Brazelton and hit Bonds, forcing in a runthat made it 5-0.
Bonds, who was in the lineup as the Giants’ DH, has reached base by hit or walk in 48 of 49 games. … Waechter has allowed 16 homers in 50 2-3 innings, including 11 in his last 29 2-3 innings. … RHP Victor Zambrano, who scheduled to pitch Thursday’s series finale against the Giants, had all three of Tampa Bay’s interleague victories last year. He’s 7-1 against the NL. …Bonds is 2-for-9 against the Devil Rays with no home runs.