Orioles 3, Devil Rays 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Miguel Tejada could afford to laugh after turning a potentially embarrassing baserunning blunder into a positive for the Baltimore Orioles.

The All-Star shortstop scored his team’s first run on a comical sequence, then added an RBI double in the fifth inning to help Rodrigo Lopez beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2 Saturday night.

“That’s the way he plays. He wants to win,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Tejada scored on a play that began with his double off the right-field wall with two outs in the third. He rounded second, stumbled and fell before scrambling to his feet to continue to third.

Second baseman Rey Sanchez’s relay throw—which should have easily nailed Tejada—skipped past third baseman Aubrey Huff for a throwing error, allowing Tejada to score.

“That was lucky. I made something happen,” said Tejada, who didn’t look back to see where the ball was before taking off for third. “You always have to keep trying. It was really funny. That’s the first time it happened to me.”

Tejada, batting .356 with 27 RBIs in his last 29 games, went 3-for-4 after going hitless in his first two games since the All-Star break, when he won the Home Run Derby.

Luis Lopez’s sacrifice fly against Dewon Brazelton (2-3) made it 2-1 in the fourth. Tejada’s second hit of the night gave Baltimore a two-run lead in the fifth.

Rodrigo Lopez (7-6) allowed one run on five hits, struck out one and walked five in 5 1-3 innings. Relievers Buddy Groom, B.J. Ryan, Jason Grimsley and Jorge Julio held Tampa Bay in check the rest of the way, with Julio working the ninth to earn his 14th save in 16 opportunities.

Julio gave up a solo homer to Huff with two outs before getting Jose Cruz Jr. on a popup.

The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Devil Rays, who have been held to just 19 runs during the stretch. They were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Rodrigo Lopez and needed a first-inning wild pitch to get their only run home from third against the Baltimore right-hander.

Earlier in the day, Tampa Bay designated Fred McGriff for assignment, ending his comeback with the Devil Rays. The 40-year-old slugger is seven homers shy of 500.

“We were hoping the outcome would be different,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “Hopefully, there will be some interest (from other teams) and he’ll get a chance to follow his quest.”

Grimsley struck out Sanchez with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and Tampa Bay stranded 11 while finishing 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The Devil Rays are 0-for-9 with one RBI in their last nine at-bats with the bases loaded.

“We’re getting chances,” Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re just not getting any hits when we need them.”

Huff walked in the first, moved to third on Cruz’s single and scored on Rodrigo Lopez’s wild pitch. The Baltimore starter had thrown one wild pitch in 83 1-3 innings before Saturday night.

Brazelton, who has lost three straight after winning his first two decisions of the season, allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.


Devil Rays OF Joey Gathright and INF Jorge Cantu were promoted from Triple-A. Cantu made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and flied out… Devil Rays LF Carl Crawford stole his major league-leading 39th base in the first inning. … Rodrigo Lopez is 2-3 in five starts since returning to Baltimore’s rotation for the second time this season. … Orioles 3B David Newhan went 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at nine games. … The teams combined to go 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Tejada’s RBI double was the only hit.

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