Devil Rays 13, Orioles 3

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Two days earlier, Lou Piniella kept his office door closed to reporters after watching his baseball team lose both games of a doubleheader.

After Tampa Bay cruised past the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 Wednesday night, Piniella couldn’t stop chatting about how well the Devil Rays played.

Rob Bell took a two-hitter into the eighth inning, and Toby Hall and Damian Rolls each had three RBIs in the blowout.

“We put some runs on the board tonight. Bell pitched very well,” Piniella said. “I’m well pleased.”

Rolls and Aubrey Huff both had three hits for the Devil Rays, who earned a split of the four-game series after Monday’s twin setbacks. Tampa Bay is 8-0-3 in its last 11 series, including 5-0-2 on the road.

“I just think it’s huge for us to respond like this,” Bell said. “We wanted to have a good road trip going into the All-Star break and kind of get this train rolling a little bit. It worked out for us.”

Next stop: Yankee Stadium for a four-game series that begins Thursday night.

“We left Tampa Bay on an 11-game road trip saying if we went 5-6, 6-5, we’d be pleased,” Piniella said. “We’re 4-3, so let’s see what happens in New York.”

The only player to reach base against Bell (3-3) over the first seven innings was Brian Roberts, who hit doubles in the first and third. Bell retired 13 straight batters before walking Larry Bigbie on a 3-2 pitch to open the eighth.

After Bell went to 1-0 on Jerry Hairston, Piniella pulled the right-hander and summoned Jesus Colome, who yielded a single to Hairston before striking out the side.

Bell, who struck out four and walked one, began the year with Triple-A Durham and was demoted to the bullpen last month. But his performance against the Orioles could get him some steady work in the starting rotation.

“We’re going to keep him in the rotation after the break. I think by Sunday, he’ll be able to pitch longer,” Piniella said.

Bell had no problem with the last-place Orioles, who have scored only four runs over their last 20 innings.

Their pitching wasn’t much better—starter John Parrish (5-3) and four relievers combined to yield 14 hits and 11 walks.

“We took advantage of the pitching. They walked quite a few people,” Piniella said.

Rick Bauer, who gave up two hits and a walk before getting the final out in Tampa Bay’s seven-run ninth, was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa after the game and was furious over the move.

“They’re trying to get rid of me. They said I can’t pitch here,” he said. “Deep down, I’m hurt. I’ve busted my butt for this organization, and to get kicked to the curb hurt.

“Maybe somebody will pick me up,” he said. “I just want to pitch somewhere, but it’s getting to the point where I just don’t care.”

Manager Lee Mazzilli said the move was made to pare down the 13-man staff and get another position player on the bench. The corresponding move will probably be made Thursday, a much-needed off day.

Down 13-0, Baltimore scored three in the ninth off Jorge Sosa on an RBI single by Tim Raines Jr. and a two-run homer by Rafael Palmeiro. But it did little to take the sting off a humbling defeat.

“I think the guys are not happy about tonight,” he said.

Parrish, making his first start since July 2001, struggled from the outset. He gave up three first-inning runs and was yanked with one out in the third.

Parrish threw 38 pitches during a first inning in which he walked three, committed an error on a pickoff throw and uncorked a wild pitch. Rolls singled in a run, another scored when third baseman David Newhan bobbled a grounder, and Hall hit a sacrifice fly.

Tampa Bay went up 6-0 in the seventh when Geoff Blum hit a two-run double off Mike DeJean after a sacrifice fly by Hall.

Rolls and Julio Lugo hit two-run singles in the ninth.


Rolls’ first-inning single was his first hit since May 23. He was 0-for-3 since being activated from the disabled list Friday. … DeJean has allowed 12 of 22 inherited runners to score. … The nine-game hitting streakof Tampa Bay’s Rocco Baldelli ended with an 0-for-6 night.

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